Dancing flamingos

Animals: why flamingos dance

Hardly anyone steps out of line: Flamingos present their choreography in lockstep. If you do a particularly good job, you will turn your fellows' heads with it.

Showtime at the Flamingo Ballet

Endlessly long legs, a pink plumage, what is probably the most beautiful neck in the bird world ... Flamingos don't care about any of this. One looks like the other anyway. What counts with flamingos is the talent to dance! Researchers have found that those birds are particularly successful at courtship when they display a particularly large number of different positions.

And because flamingos look for a new partner every year, especially during the courtship season: Showtime! Then all animals do their best, from the Lesser Flamingo in Africa to the Cuban Flamingo in the salt lakes and lagoons of Central and South America. The birds perform their "flamingo ballet" in large groups and show everything they can.

Every step, every position is right. Synchronously, the flamingos stretch their necks in the air, march through the water, turning their heads jaggedly back and forth, just as if someone was tapping the beat in the background. One and two and three! One and two and three!

As if on a command, everyone suddenly spreads their wings at the same time and presents their magnificent color for a few seconds: a pure "Wing Salute", translated as a wing salute.

Scientists have come up with names for many of the "dance steps". We introduce you to four dance steps of the flamingos.

Wing salute

Translated, the name of this figure means something like Wing salute. The flamingos spread their wings, stretch them back a little and hold them for one to two seconds.

Head flagging

At this dance step, roughly translated Head flutter, several flamingos run side by side with their necks outstretched and turn their heads from right to left.


Hundreds of flamingos sometimes strut at the "Marching" (translated March) around - with stretched chest and straight neck. Again and again they change direction abruptly.

Inverted Wing Salute

At the inverted wing salute the birds stretch their necks horizontally forward, spread their wings slightly and set up their tail feathers.