What Sounds do Flamingos Make?

Flamingos rely on vocalizations for a lot of things – signaling interest during courtship, keeping a tight formation during migration, identifying their chicks, and many other aspects of their lives.

They’re also social by nature living in colonies, where communication is key and serve the well-being of the entire colony.

Flamingos have various calls, noises and sounds each bearing a different meaning depending on the situation they find themselves in.

If you’re curious to identify the sounds and calls flamingos make, in this article I will cover the most common things you should know about how flamingos communicate through the sounds they make.

Are Flamingos Noisy Birds?

Yes, flamingos are notoriously noisy birds with a repertoire of sounds that can become a bit grating when overdone. And they do tend to overdo it.

Whether their noisiness is a direct result of their social nature or whether their social nature is what makes them noisy, is probably a chicken and egg type of question.

What’s certain is that flamingos rely on a host of sounds to communicate with each other. And this communication is often a matter of survival for them.

Let’s see which sounds mean what in the way flamingos communicate.

Sounds and Calls Flamingos Make

Here are some of the most common sound and calls flamingos make, depending on what activity they happen to be engaged in:

– When Flying/Migrating

Flamingos are rarely silent and being in the air is no exception. That’s because flamingos fly in formations and communication during that time is crucial to signal flight direction and to keep a tight flying formation.

Because flamingos fly in a V-shaped formation, the flamingo leading the formation takes most of the wind resistance. The flamingos that are downstream from the lead encounter much less wind resistance.

Signaling that the lead flamingo is tired and needs to switch places with another flamingo downstream is crucial for maintaining direction and a tight formation.

Flamingos can fly at a speed of 50-60 km/h (31-37 mph) and cover as many as 600 km (373 miles) during the course of a single night.

Because there’s much at stake during migration, flamingos rely on noises for indicating flight direction and flight pattern and keeping the flock together.

The calls flamingos make during migration are similar to that of geese; a ‘ka-ha’ repeated over and over.

– Communicating with Their Young

Another instance when flamingos use a different sound to communicate is in their relationship with their young.

Within days of hatching, the flamingo chick will start to emit a squeaking noise that the flamingo parent will learn and use later to identify the chick.

While the flamingo will also commit to mind the way the chick looks, taken together with the chick’s call makes it much easier for the flamingo parent to identify it.

The parent flamingo will also make low grunting sounds that the baby flamingo will learn to recognize.

– When Feeding

Flamingos will even ‘talk’ through their feeding times, however, the sounds they make during that time are much less boisterous than in other social situations.

These sounds are a repeated ‘kuk-kuk, ke-kuk’ that’s similar to the sounds geese and ducks can make when feeding.

– When Alerting to a Source of Food

Another type of vocalization of flamingos is when they alert the other to a source of food they discover. Flamingos feed on red algae, molluscs, crustaceans and shrimp.

And they’re not selfish when they hit a good feeding spot – their social nature commands them to share that information through a series of cries that alert the other members of their group.

– When Alerting to Danger or Warning

Whether growling at passersby to keep them at bay or using other calls to alert members of the flock of potential dangers, flamingos will use their voices to pass on information about potential dangers as well.

This is another instance in which communication with other members of their group helps them stay safe.

Do Baby Flamingos Make Noise?

With such ‘talkative’ parents, it’s only natural for baby flamingos to also take on the habit. To them, it’s a crucial skill to acquire early on, considering that their ability to fly comes later on in life, so their parents are the only ones that can keep them safe from dangers.

Flamingo chicks will start squeaking very soon after hatching. As I mentioned, vocalization plays a crucial role in parent-chick recognition, so both the chick and the parent need to learn each other’s vocalizations to be able to identify each other.

Flamingo vs Goose Honk – How to Tell the Difference?

Flamingos make sounds like that of geese, so for the untrained ear these two birds can sound exactly the same.

To me at least, the two birds don’t sound quite that similar. Sure, they both make honking noises, but there is a difference between the two that I’ve learned to recognize.

Flamingos have a nasal honking call that’s not as high-pitched as that of geese. But to my ears, geese make a clucking sound that goes more like ‘kah-hah-hah’ rather than the ‘ka-ha’ sound made by flamingos.

To put it in more simple terms, flamingos will typically make a double honking call, while geese make a triple honking call.

I’m sure that if you listen to enough recordings of the sounds each bird makes, you too will be able to easily tell the difference between the calls of a flamingo and that of a goose.


Vocalization is an important communication tool in the avian world and it’s no different for flamingos either.

Flamingos rely on a range of calls, sounds, and cries to attract mates, recognize chicks, follow directions while in formation, or alert to food or dangers.

What’s different about flamingos is that they’re an excessively chatty bunch. There’s little to make them stay quiet, so you definitely won’t miss out on the sounds flamingos make should you come across them somewhere.

This constant communication is welcomed and much needed within a flamingo colony since their very survival relies upon them constantly exchanging information with each other.

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