Photo by OndrejChvatal/Shutterstock.com
Unless you’re having twins, triplets, or something even more sinister, humans don’t have more than one baby per year. At least, women don’t. Is it the same for the fabulous fowl? Do flamingos also only generally have just one chick per year?
Yes, at least for the most part. Female flamingos will typically lay only one egg that will eventually hatch a beautiful baby bird.
How Many Chicks Does a Flamingo Have Per Year?
Starting at about six years old, flamingos begin to mate. Male and female flamingos will do what must be done to continue the species, and the couple will then set out to build a nest for its incoming egg. Sticks, stones, mud, feathers, and whatever other debris can be collected are used to create their offsprings’ future home.
This process takes about six weeks, which is roughly the amount of time it takes for the female to produce the egg. From there, it takes approximately another month for the egg to hatch and the chick to escape its confines.
Photo by KhairilAzharJunos/Shutterstock.com
Flamingos breed within their own colony and don’t have a set time of year marked for mating. Instead, these birds mate whenever the rainfall is high enough to support their reproduction - without the rain, it can be tough to find all the necessary supplies needed to form the egg’s nest, plus so much of the food that flamingos eat comes from the water. If the rainfall isn’t high enough, then the food supply won’t be robust enough, and flamingos can’t provide their chicks enough food to maintain.
Thousands of Flamingos after their long journey gather these days in the Shadegan wetland, in Abadan in South of Iran, as they prepare themselves for the reproduction stage. Beautiful pic.twitter.com/5X4UpTX4Kp— Hamid Baeidinejad (@baeidinejad) April 16, 2020
So, assuming the weather cooperates, male flamingos will initiate courtship with female flamingos, they will pair up, and they will begin the process of childrearing together. These birds are even believed to be sometimes monogamous, a departure from a large swath of the animal kingdom.
Does This Make It Hard for Flamingos to Repopulate?
Yes and no. Obviously, these restrictions make it more difficult. If a female flamingo usually only produces one egg per year, mating season is irregular and reliant on something out of the bird’s control, and flamingos generally keep their love lives within their own colonies, then you will hamstring yourself a bit. But it’s not that much of a hindrance - flamingos get it done.
Lake Bogoria, Kenya, is a Flamingo paradise with the largest population of Flamingos on earth. pic.twitter.com/e0UAA2nBCP— Oliver🇧🇷 (@OliverOsodrac) February 6, 2023
Flamingo colonies can be massive, so it’s not that difficult for these birds to find partners. These birds prefer living in rainy, swampy environments, so while climate change and general weather unpredictability aren’t great, it does usually rain enough at some point for flamingos to be fruitful and multiply. There’s no way around laying only one egg per go, though. If the fabulous fowl could produce more than one offspring per pairing, its population would undoubtedly increase, but that’s not the hand this species was dealt.