How baby flamingos become pink

Did you know that flamingos are white when they are born? This video shows the fascinating red milk that they drink to give them their beautiful pink colour.

Do the preparation task first. Then watch the video and do the exercises. You can also read the transcript.

Transcript

These Caribbean flamingos are the brightest members of the flamingo family. They are unusual in many ways.

Their curved bill is a specialist bit of equipment, containing a unique structure that filters algae and small crustaceans out of the water.

And this bill is the key to their parenting strategy.

Their chicks are born with straight bills, that can’t yet filter water to feed.

So these bird parents produce milk. It’s made in their throat and comes out of their mouths but has the same amount of protein and fat as milk.

The hormone prolactin stimulates milk production, the same as for humans. Except, here, both parents have prolactin, so dad produces milk too.

The milk is bright red, as it contains the chemicals that give the chick its pink colour until it can feed itself. The feeding drains the parents of their own colour and they start to look a bit washed out, a feeling most parents are familiar with!

With both parents working together, they manage to produce enough milk to sustain their chick until its bill has developed and it’s able to stand on its own two feet.

© BBC

Discussion

Download
Worksheet75.34 KB

Language level

Advanced: C1

Submitted by OlaIELTS on Thu, 16/04/2020 - 17:42

Permalink
Yes. I had. The commonly seen birds around my domain includes dove, duck, parrot, hen, sparrow, pigeon and so on. Just to mention a few.

Submitted by Sacried on Sun, 28/07/2019 - 09:26

Permalink
Good day! Explain, please, what button I should push in order to make the right order on the sentences. Thanx a lot! Olga

Hello Olga

After you press the Finish button, it turns into the See Answers button. If you press that, it will show you the answers in the correct order.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Online courses
Learn English online – with the world's English experts