Of everything we wanted to see in Camargue , the long legged and gawky pink heron/swan/ostrich look-a-like was high on our list. And we were well rewarded in seeing hundreds of these birds on the sea shore and along the canals of the Canargue.
Our guide had mentioned that applying pink “make up” is involved in attracting mates, but we were sceptical. A quick search found a National Geographic article that seems to confirm…”There’s a reason why flamingos are so pretty in pink: The birds apply “makeup” to impress mates, a new study says.”
Pardon a little education..”
Flamingos, like all birds, produce oil in glands near their tails. Birds daub this oil onto their feathers with their beaks. The oil is well known to improve the longevity of feathers and keep them waterproof. But Amat suspected that the flamingos might also be using the substance for coloration. Flamingos get their color from compounds called carotenoids, which the birds absorb from their diets of algae and small crustaceans.
As we departed the park we came upon a few feeding in a pond, along with a heron (missing home).
Like a performer coming back for a curtain call, one flamingo was taking a bath (Osprey style) and gave us a rainbow 🌈 display of theirs famous pink colours.