1. Eyes.

  • The eyes are located on either side of the head.
  • Flamingo chicks have gray eyes for approximately the first year of life.  Adult flamingos have yellow eyes.

2. Bill.

  • An adult flamingo’s bill is black, pinkish, or cream-colored.  Coloration varies according to species.
  • The bill is adapted for filter feeding.  The upper and lower bill, or mandible, is angled downward just below the nostril.
  • The upper mandible is thin and flat, and functions like a lid to the lower mandible.  The lower mandible is large and trough- or keel-shaped.
  • Tooth-like ridges on the outside of a flamingo’s bill help filter food from the water.
  • Both the upper and lower mandibles contain two rows of a bristled, comb-like or hair-like structure called lamellae.  When the mandibles come together, the lamellae of the upper and lower mandibles mesh.
  • The number of lamellae in a flamingo’s bill varies according to species.  The Andean flamingo has about 9 lamellae per cm (23 per in. ).  The James’ flamingo has about 21 lamellae per cm (53 per in. ).  The Chilean flamingo has about 5 to 6 lamellae per cm (13-15 per in. ).
  • James’ and Andean flamingos have a deep, narrow trough-like lower mandible, which allows them to eat small foods such as algae and diatoms.
  • The lower mandible of Caribbean, greater, and Chilean flamingos is wide, allowing them to feed on larger foods such as brineflies, shrimp, and molluscs.

3. Tongue.
A flamingo’s large, fleshy tongue is covered with bristle-like projections that help filter water and food particles through the lamellae.