Andean Flamingo Phoenicoparrus andinus

Kylie G. Roberts, Jessica C. Patton, Zishan A. Mahmood, Brandon D. Alarcon, Josep del Hoyo, Peter F. D. Boesman, and Ernest Garcia
Version: 2.0 — Published May 21, 2020


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In a captive study, Andean Flamingos spent most of their day preening and bathing, resting, and feeding (21).

Agonistic Behavior

Physical Interactions

In their study of social behaviors of captive Andean Flamingos, Lindgren and Pickering (22) described two primary aggressive displays that birds would use towards conspecifics. The Neck Swaying display involved swaying its horizontally-held neck side-to-side, likely in an attempt to ward off an approaching flamingo. The second aggressive display described by Lindgren and Pickering (22) was Bumping, which, as the name implies, involved one flamingo bumping into another in an attempt to get them to move away.

During the breeding season neighboring flamingos squabble with each other and come close to drawing blood (23).


Andean Flamingos are colonial nesters. Within one colony, pairs nested very close to each other, with the average distance between nests being only 6-8 cm (3).

Sexual Behavior

Mating System

Like all flamingos, Andean Flamingos are presumed to be monogamous, although no studies have carefully documented this. In a study of captive birds, Rose (21) found that pair bonds appeared to be maintained over time.

Courtship, Copulation, and Pair Bond

Andean Flamingos are extremely social and have a series of ritualized displays which may serve not only to strengthen pair bonds but also possibly to synchronize breeding among the colony (22). In a study of captive birds, Lindgren and Pickering (22) describe the ritualized displays of Andean Flamingos, which collectively fall into three categories: 1) Ritualized Head Displays, 2) Ritualized Wing Displays, and 3) Locomotory Displays. A fourth display category is discussed under Agonistic Behavior.

Lindgren and Pickering (22) describe five Ritualized Head Displays: Head Flagging, Head Shake Preen, Twist Preen, Broken Neck, and Alert. Many of these displays are used together with other displays. For example, Head Flagging, Twist Preen, and Broken Neck displays were often used during the Marching Display (22).

Three Ritualized Wing Displays have been described: Wing Flap Salute, Inverted Wing Salute, and Wing Leg Tail Stretch. Like the various Ritualized Head Displays, many wing displays were performed either in concert with, or in a sequence with, other displays (22).

Finally, Lindgren and Pickering (22) described four Locomotory Displays: Marching, Parading, Attempted Flights, and False Feeding. Marching and Parading often involved many birds, with Marching requiring more than 3 individuals, and Parading typically involving 10-15 individuals. False Feeding was performed either singly or in pairs (22).

Social and Interspecific Behavior

Nonpredatory Interspecific Interactions

Andean Flamingos nest in dense colonies, often with other flamingo species. At one colony in Bolivia, Andean, Chilean, and James’s flamingo were all nesting together in one colony that numbered about 3,000 birds total (3). Andean and Chilean flamingos were the dominant species, each numbering about 1,500 birds. Birds were equally likely to be nesting next to conspecific as heterospecific birds within the colony (3).

During all seasons when foraging, Andean Flamingo often associates and forages with both Chilean and James's flamingo (5, 17, 6). In one study, the abundance of Andean and Chilean flamingos were positively correlated (6), suggesting close associations. In another study on the breeding grounds, Andean and Chilean flamingos were found to overlap and encounter one another 3.4x more often than if they were uniformly distributed across lakes, while Andean and James's flamingos were more likely to encounter one another within a given lake, as they prefer the same portions of a lake, suggesting that Andean Flamingos are positively associated with both Chilean and James's flamingos, albeit at different scales (5).

During the winter the Laguna Mar Chiquita, in the Cordoba province of Argentina, Andean Flamingo coexist with James’s Flamingo and Chilean Flamingo (24). During their brief overlap, Andean Flamingos never foraged with the James’s Flamingo, but did associate with the Chilean Flamingo in mixed flocks (24).


Studies focusing on predation of the Andean Flamingo are lacking.

Kinds of Predators

Generalist predators are more likely to be a threat to the Andean Flamingo, including Andean Fox (Lycalopex culpaeus; 25). Andean Fox fecal matter was found to have flamingo present in its diet, but identification to species was not possible (25). Other generalist predators may also predate adults, chicks, and eggs, but the data is lacking.

Recommended Citation

Roberts, K. G., J. C. Patton, Z. A. Mahmood, B. D. Alarcon, J. del Hoyo, P. F. D. Boesman, and E.F.J. Garcia (2020). Andean Flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (T. S. Schulenberg, B. K. Keeney, and S. M. Billerman, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.andfla2.02