All flamingos are pink: Except when they are black

Quite the oddity was spotted in Israel. A melanistic flamingo.

Carmel man snaps photo of rare black flamingo

Don Presser, 70, photographed what he said could be the “one and only black flamingo in the world” on a trip to Eilat, Israel, in February. Presser sent the image to Monterey County bird experts who identified it as a rare melanistic Greater Flamingo.

Other photographs of a darkly-hued flamingo in Eilat first appeared on birding websites last spring, and some sites also claimed the bird is one of a kind. It’s unclear if what Presser saw is the same bird.

Presser, who owns FourWinds Travel in Carmel, traveled to Eilat in the southern deserts of Israel hoping to photograph snakes, but cold, rainy weather ruined any chance of that, he said. But he loves taking pictures of all critters, he said, and noticed a stand of flamingos wading in a salt pond. The black-feathered beauty stood out and Presser asked his tour guide about the animal.

The bird experts at the San Diego Zoo have heard reports of the darkly colored flamingos but had never seen one. The odds of a melanistic flamingo are very low, rare but obviously not impossible. Or was it dyed?

Photo credit: Don Presser

Photo credit: Don Presser

  2 comments for “All flamingos are pink: Except when they are black

  1. Andrew W
    March 18, 2014 at 5:16 AM

    A gene mutation and natural selection at work!
    btw, for those that do not know, Pink Flamingo’s get their pink colouring from their food source. The colour coming from shrimp. They can be white when there is no shrimp available for a food source.

  2. Paul de Boer
    March 18, 2014 at 9:52 AM

    pink says to black “What the hell have you been eating!”

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