How Many Eggs do Flamingos Lay?

Because of their size, you might think that flamingos lay a lot of eggs during the breeding season, or that they raise several baby flamingos. Turns out the number of eggs flamingos lay is quite limited. Surprisingly so.

Below, I’ll answer some of the most common questions about the breeding habits of flamingos.

How Many Eggs Does a Flamingo Lay in a Year?

When I said that the number of eggs flamingos lay in a year is surprisingly low, I wasn’t exaggerating. That’s because flamingos lay just one egg per year.

This means that they raise a single baby flamingo per year. Therefore, with only just one egg per year, the stakes are high for flamingos to protect the egg and then make sure that the baby flamingo is well taken care of.

The shape of the egg is similar to that of the chicken egg, but the dimensions are obviously different. If a chicken egg weighs 1.7-2.4 oz (50-70 g), a flamingo egg weighs 4-4.9 oz (115-140 g).

The size of a flamingo egg can be anywhere between 78 by 49 mm (3 x 1.9 in.) and 90 by 55 mm (3.5 x 2.1 in.). The color of a flamingo egg is chalky white.

After the female lays the egg, an incubation period follows that lasts about 27 to 31 days. Both the male and the female flamingo take turns in incubating the egg. They use their bill to carefully lift and turn the egg.

When do Flamingos Lay Their Egg?

Interestingly, the breeding season for flamingos isn’t set in stone, nor is it necessarily tied to a certain month of the year. Obviously, favorable climate conditions are needed, but other equally important aspects are food availability and water levels.

Therefore, with enough rainfall to ward off droughts and provide adequate water levels and food supply, flamingo colonies will start to breed.

Then there’s the aspect of synchronous nesting within the flamingo colony to ensure that baby flamingos within a colony hatch at about the same time.

Groups of flamingos will start courtship by stretching their neck and preening, while interested birds will call to each other to form bonds.

While some flamingo pairs can form strong bonds, flamingos have been observed to mate with different flamingos in different breeding seasons. This results in each flamingo chick to have a different set of parents.

Therefore, the breeding season in flamingos is closely tied to food availability. This is why different flamingo colonies will breed at different times.

Do Flamingos Build a Nest?

Flamingos build mounds, which serve as the nesting site for the pair. The building of the mound starts around 6 weeks before the eggs are laid.

The mound is built with materials such as mud, straws, feathers, and small stones to create a 12-inch (30 cm) high nesting site.

Interestingly, once an egg falls out of the mound, it’s never returned to the mound, perhaps because the fall from the egg injures the egg so that it becomes unviable.

How Long it Takes for Flamingo Egg to Hatch?

After an incubation period that can last anywhere from 27 to 31 days, the eggs become ready to hatch. The hatching itself takes about 24 to 36 hours.

Flamingo chicks are able to break away from the egg by using a growth on their bill called the ‘egg tooth’. Technically, this isn’t a tooth and falls off after the chick hatches.

While the chicks are making their way out into the world, the adult flamingos guard over the eggs, anxiously awaiting their hatching. They stand, preen, vocalize, and even gently nibble at the chick.

Vocalization is an important tool in flamingos, they use it to communicate with each other during migration, courtship, and they can even recognize their young based on their vocalization.

A newly hatched flamingo has white or gray down feathers, chunky red or pink legs, and a straight red bill.

It doesn’t take long for the legs to slim down – usually just 48 hours – and the bill and legs to turn a different color. In usually about 7-10 days, the legs and bill turn black.

It takes a few days for flamingo chicks to leave the nest. In the first days, their movement is very limited, but after 4-7 days they become strong enough to start walking.

As I mentioned before, the ability to fly comes much later, when the flamingo reaches 2-3 months of age.

Flamingo chicks form large groups called ‘creches’ and parents identify them based on vocalization but also by sight.

The upper digestive tract of flamingos secretes a substance called ‘milk’. Baby flamingos are fed with this secretion that consists of up to 9% protein and 15% fat, which is highly nutritious to the flamingo chicks.

This secretion also contains a substance called ‘canthaxanthin’, which is a pigment that will be stored in the baby flamingo’s liver to be used later in the coloration of their feathers.

Are Flamingo Eggs Edible?

Yes, flamingo eggs are edible. People have historically eaten flamingo eggs both as a primary source of food and as a delicacy. Even today, in some areas, flamingo eggs are still eaten.

Beyond the eggs of flamingos, the meat is also edible. Flamingos are said to taste like wild duck.

In Roman times, flamingo tongues were pickled and served as a delicacy, whereas Andean miners killed flamingos for their fat, believing it has curative properties against tuberculosis.


Flamingos aren’t as prolific breeders as other similarly sized birds such as storks, for example. Flamingos lay a single egg per year and raise a single baby flamingo.

While unusual, some female flamingos have been recorded laying two eggs. However, this is rare, and most times, female flamingos lay only a single egg per breeding season.

Both parents are involved in incubating the egg and taking care of their young. It takes a little over 11 weeks for flamingo chicks to grow their flight feathers, so it takes a couple of months before a young flamingo can take flight.

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