How Much Does a Flamingo Cost?

Be it the long legs, the pink feathers or the long necks, flamingos are an instantly recognizable bird that’s popular around the world.

This popularity prompts many of us to ask, just how much does a flamingo cost? And can you even own a flamingo as a pet?

Turns out that the law isn’t as permissive with owning wild birds as some would like. But as I will explain below, maybe it’s all for the better as flamingos aren’t suitable for being kept as a pet.

Can You Buy a Pet Flamingo?

No. In the United States, owning a flamingo as a pet is not allowed. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 prohibits the capture, trapping or selling of wild animals.

Save for zoo facilities and other similar organizations, owning a flamingo is not allowed for private citizens.

The law may be more permissive in other parts of the world, but even there, ownership of flamingos is most likely tied to licensing, which places a lot of hurdles in the way of becoming a flamingo owner.

Therefore, zoo facilities and animal parks may be the only ones to purchase flamingos and raise them in captivity or near-captivity.

The reason is partly tied to the keeping needs of flamingos, which in themselves are too costly to be covered by any one individual.

Then there’s also the gregarious nature of flamingos, meaning that you can’t keep a single flamingo. You need a whole flock or colony to ensure their well-being.

Another hurdle beyond licensing, keeping costs, having enough space, offering specialized care and other such matters, is sourcing flamingos. This is another aspect that I’ll discuss further down in the article.

How Much Does a Pet Flamingo Cost?

Reiterating once again that it’s highly unlikely you could buy a flamingo, zoo facilities and animal parks may pay thousands for a single specimen.

The price for a flamingo can vary depending on the species and availability. Naturally, rarer species can cost more, while those that are widely available may cost less.

But you can’t just go on and buy a single flamingo. Not even a pair. These birds form colonies with thousands of individuals, so at the very minimum you’d need well over 10 birds, which raises the purchasing costs significantly.

Not to mention, the costs of building a suitable enclosure with access to water and food and plenty of space.

Is It Legal to Sell a Wild Caught Flamingo?

No, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 prohibits not only the capture or trapping of wild birds, but also their sale.

Therefore, you cannot sell a wild caught flamingo. If you were to do so, you’d be breaking the law.

The only ones that can sell flamingos are licensed breeders, zoos or animal parks, all of which need all sorts of government permits to do so.

Therefore, as a private citizen you cannot own a pet flamingo, you cannot buy one, nor can you catch one in the wild to sell it.

You may find all these rules frustrating, but they’re in place to protect the flamingo population and to discourage poaching.

Unfortunately, flamingo poaching is a problem in some areas of the globe including Pakistan, Iraq, and parts of India, where either legislation to protect these birds is non-existent or existing legislation is not enforced.

In regions where poaching is widespread, the sale of flamingo meat for consumption is also rampant. Flamingo meat is sold for only a couple of dollars, and it’s considered a delicacy.

How Much Does it Cost to Care for a Flamingo?

There are a lot of factors to consider when setting up a habitat for flamingos. First, you need a natural or artificial source of water abundant in food sources that flamingos feed on – small shrimp, crustaceans, algae, etc.

If it’s an artificial one, you need pellets enriched with the pigments to maintain the pink plumage of these birds.

Then there’s the issue of the enclosure. You need to make sure that the enclosure is large enough to accommodate a group of flamingos and prevent them from flying away, which means that the enclosure needs netting, or the birds need to have their flight feathers trimmed.

Beyond the habitat and feeding, you also need specialized knowledge about the diseases that can affect them and treatment options.

All these things add up to exorbitant sums that are not in the reach for most individuals. Zoo facilities, animal parks, flamingo sanctuaries receive government funding, donations, and make their revenue through the sale of tickets and merchandise.

You can enjoy the beauty of flamingos from afar by visiting these animal parks and sanctuaries.

You can even “adopt” a flamingo by paying a monthly donation that will ensure the food and other necessities of a flamingo.

You may even get an adoption certificate, updates on your flamingo, pictures of it, and other interesting information about them on a monthly or yearly basis.

How Much Does a Flamingo Egg Cost?

Beyond being hunted for their meat, flamingo eggs can also fetch a pretty penny to poachers.

The eggs of flamingos are edible, so in some regions of the world, eggs are stolen out of the nests and sold at markets.

The problem with this is that flamingos are notoriously poor breeders. They produce only a single egg per year, which means that if the practice of stealing flamingo eggs is widespread enough, it can seriously affect the breeding efforts of entire flamingo colonies.


There are only six species of flamingos in the world, yet this bird is as popular as ever. Many would like to have a pet flamingo, without understanding that these birds need a special habitat and specialized care.

Owning a flamingo as a pet is not allowed in the USA. Many other countries also prohibit it, along with their capture or sale.

Unfortunately, despite the legislation, in some countries in the world, flamingos are still hunted for their meat, eggs, and forced to live as pets in less precious conditions.

These illegal practices also lead to a decimation of the flamingo population with devastating consequences.

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