What Color Is Flamingo Blood?

What Color Is Flamingo Blood?
Photo by KendalSwart/Shutterstock.com

Flamingos are intrinsically linked to the color pink. It’s difficult to believe these beautiful birds include any other color in their lives. But nature has a funny way of not caring about our manufactured sensibilities. How deep does this pinkness run? What color is flamingo blood?

What Blood Is Running Through Flamingo Veins?

Maybe you think it’s ridiculous that flamingo blood would be pink, or maybe you’d be shocked to imagine anything else. A big reason why you might love flamingos is for their color - plenty of flamingo fans are lovers of the color pink on its own accord, and that’s what drew some to their love of the fabulous fowl. It just feels right that everything about flamingos would be pink, right?

flamingo blood

Photo by KendalSwart/Shutterstock.com


Well, it turns out that nature went with us on this one: flamingo blood is pink.

Oh Yeah?


Then How Do You Explain This?

Great question. I bet you thought you got me there. But not so fast, my friend!

What you see there dripping from the head of that flamingo is not blood. No, fortunately flamingos do not feed their young their own blood. That would be weird. And what you’re seeing here is totally not weird.

The liquid in that video is flamingo crop milk. It’s a bunch of cells with tons of protein and fat that the adults spit up from their throats to shove down their chicks’ gullets. They use their fellow adult flamingo as a funnel to drip the crop milk into the gaping beak of their young.

Suddenly, feeding their chicks their blood doesn’t seem as off-putting anymore.

But hey, it’s not that much different from what mammals do. The main difference is that flamingos have a pigment in their liver that turns their crop milk to a sharp red color. But even if it’s the same, it just feels so … wrong. The appearance of drinking blood will never be comfortable.

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