Flamingos Get Their Name From Fire!

Photo by MelKowasic/Shutterstock.com

You love flamingos. Of course you do. They’re lovable creatures. So, you naturally want to know how the bird came to be known as the flamingo. You probably won’t be surprised to learn it’s based on their appearance.

Flamingos Get Their Name From Fire!

“Flamingo” is a fun word to say. Go ahead, say “flamingo” to yourself, out loud, five times in a row. Now try to tell me you didn’t have a good time. Do it, I dare you.

You can’t, because “flamingo” is a great word. It rolls off the tongue perfectly. It’s smooth, calm, and collected. It’s everything the bird is. It makes sense the fabulous fowl would have such a serene and elegant name.

But animals don’t get their identities scripted based on what sounds cool. Maybe they should, but that’s not the reality we currently live in.

The word “flamingo” is not rooted in English. Instead, it comes from a mixture of Spanish and Latin and has transformed into an English word to describe the fabulous fowl. It’s a combination of each language’s word for “fire” - in Latin, it’s “ignis,” and in Spanish, it’s “fuego.” From there, “flamingo” became the English version of the word “flamenco,” which is the Spanish word for the fabulous fowl.

Why fire? Well, you know as well as I do that flamingos are notoriously bright colored. I’m not entirely sure that I would equate the bird’s traditional pink color to that of a fire, but sometimes flamingos are bright red and appear fiery. Plus, it seems like a pretty cool thing to get your name from, and flamingos are pretty cool. I’ll allow it.

Photo by JenBowman/Shutterstock.com

Are Flamingos Fiery?

They don’t just look like balls of fire with necks and legs - flamingos can have fiery personalities, too.

These birds aren’t inherently aggressive, but they’re not afraid of confrontation. Resources are not unlimited, and sometimes you have to lay down the law. Flamingos get into fights with one another from time to time, and a study from 2020 discovered that the pinker the flamingo, the more aggressive that individual is when it comes time to eat. Flamingos are also willing to throw down if someone or something tries to mess with their mating.

Does this mean flamingos are mean-spirited creatures without hearts? Not at all. But it does mean that you probably shouldn’t get between a flamingo and its next meal, especially if that flamingo is bright pink. Then you know the fire is within that one.