Wild Things: Life as We Know It- page 2 | Science | Smithsonian
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(Cheryl Carlin)

Wild Things: Life as We Know It

Flamingos, T. rex Tails, Burmese monkeys and more...

A Touch of Rouge

Greater Flamingo
(Michael Weber / Imagebroker / FLPA)
A flamingo's pink color comes from pigments concentrated in the brine shrimp and other foods it eats. How does a flamingo attract a mate after its feathers fade? Cosmetics, according to a study in Spain. Males and females secrete pigments from a gland near the tail, and they rub the secretions on their feathers, brightening their color during breeding season. Once a flamingo has found a mate, it spends less time applying makeup.

Learn more about the greater flamingo at the Encyclopedia of Life.

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