Their pink or reddish color comes from the algae, diatoms, and small crustaceans the birds eat. They also eat aquatic insects. Flamingos eat with their head upside down in the water, so they can suck water and food in with the front of their bill. Mud and water drain out the back of the bill. The food is caught by finger-like projections called lamellae in the beak. Flamingos hold their breath when feeding.
Flamingos run to gather speed when taking off. They flap their wings almost continuously in flight. They fly when startled or to migrate. The speed of a flock can reach 31 to 37 miles per hour. They can fly 300 miles to reach a new habitat.