Flamboyance of Caribbean flamingos - Photo by Dr.JuergenBochynek/Shutterstock.com
Flamingos flock together in flamboyances and are very social animals. This means they have to have some system for communication. That leads to an interesting question: what sounds do flamingos make?
What Sounds Do Flamingos Make?
First, let’s go over an important detail: flamingos can make more than one sound. This might have been obvious to you already, but there are plenty of birds that only make one noise (and you’ve probably heard some of those birds make that one noise over, and over, and over again before). Not flamingos, though. These fabulous fowls are notoriously noisy and have multiple different ways of making themselves heard.
Flamingos can produce a nasally honking sound that can sound like something between a chalkboard screeching and a more pleasant-sounding door stop grinding against the floor. They can also make a strong-sounding almost-chirping noise that’s wonderful to hear in numbers. Then there’s a menacing growl that’s meant to let passersby know what’s up. There’s a whole bunch of different sounds a flamingo is capable of.
Photo by LesPalenik/Shutterstock.com
A flamingo parent and chick will have special sounds between them, too. Within a few days of a chick hatching, it will begin to make a cheeping noise. Its parents will commit their offspring’s unique sound to memory and make low grunting sounds that are also unique to them, which the chick will also come to understand.
Newly hatched flamingo chick - Photo by MelKowasic/Shutterstock.com
This helps a few days after the chick has hatched and it begins leaving the nest to group up with other freshly-born flamingos. Just like your mother used to scream your name from the front door to tell you it was time for dinner, one of the chick’s parents will eventually bellow out the same low grunting sound it did when its baby was still in the egg, and the chick will know to return back home.
Flamingos make different noises when flying, when feeding, when socializing, and when telling their chick that playtime is over. These different sounds are crucial for the birds. They help them find food, remain safe, understand directions, keep each other sane, and so much more. The volume, types, and tone of their noises can differ based upon how many other flamingos and which ones they’re around, too.
As far as we know, flamingos don’t have different languages. But their communications are multifaceted and more complex than you might think. They don’t seem to have mastered the use of curse words quite the same as humans yet, but get too close to a flamingo nest with an egg, and you might learn something close.