We’re used to thinking of flamingos as huge pink birds which stand on one leg and decorate the sky by flying in coral coloured flocks. In fact, the colour “flamingo pink” must be an almost universally-recognised shade.
But recently a lone bird has decided to buck the trend. A black flamingo has been spotted in Cyprus, and experts think it might be the only one in the world. There has only ever been one other recorded black flamingo, in Israel in 2013, and odds-on are that it’s the same one. Flamingoes migrate so this world traveller could well be spotted in a number of places in years to come.
He certainly stands out amongst his more conventionally coloured friends, although they all seem happy to fish and fly together. Their pink feathers are formed by the shrimp and algae that they eat – the pink colours in the food act as a natural dye. This black bird has a condition called melanism. It’s a genetic predisposition to excessive melanin, causing black pigment to override any pink food the bird may eat.