One of the highlights of any visit to the Yucatan is a trip to see the flocks of flamingos at Rio Lagartos national park. Close to Las Coloradas pink lakes, the park is one of the largest bird biospheres in Mexico. These large exotic birds can be seen wading on their slender stilt-like legs in the shallow saltwater. During your visit, you may see them at rest, standing on one leg with their head tucked into their body.
Best time to See the Pink Flamingos at Rio Lagartos
Fortunately, pink flamingos can be found at Rio Lagartos at any time of year so there is no bad time to visit. In the winter they are joined by more flamingos that migrate to the lake for food and warmth.
What Makes Flamingos Pink?
Remember the saying, "You are what you eat"? It's never truer than with flamingos! They use their curved beaks to sift the mud for food: insects, larvae, small fish, vegetation and the red algae that makes Las Coloradas lakes pink. The red pigment (beta carotene) in the algae colors the flamingos' feathers bright pink, making them a beautiful sight.
Interesting Facts About Flamingos
There are six species of flamingos, ranging in height from 80cm (2.6 feet) to 1.45 metres (4.7 feet). Their wingspan extends from 95-150cm (37 to 59 inches) and they have webbed feet. Rio Lagartos in Mexico is home to a large flock of American flamingos, also known as Caribbean flamingos (Phoenicopterus Ruber).
During your tour, you will learn that flamingos mate for life. They make mud nests and lay a single egg (about the size of a chicken egg) which hatches after 27-31 days. Both parents incubate and feed the newborn chicks which are initially gray or white, developing the pink color later from their diet. Flamingos mature at around three years of age and live for up to 30 years in the wild.
They are considered a Threatened Species as numbers are in decline, so any visit is particularly special.
Go see them soon!