Oregon Zoo gets pink

Flamingos about to star in remodeled aviary

By Jenny Wasson / The Bulletin

Published Mar 8, 2013 at 04:00AM

Instead of dressing in green this March, bust out your pink. After a 60-year hiatus, flamingos are returning to Portland's Oregon Zoo.

Traveling from the San Antonio Zoo, 21 male lesser flamingos — the smallest of the species — will make a new home in the recently remodeled Africa Rainforest aviary. Also featuring ducks, pochards and ibises, the aviary reopens to the public March 23.

The lesser flamingo, or Phoenicopterus minor, “stands nearly three feet tall and weighs three to six pounds, with a wingspan up to 41 inches,” according to a news release. Unlike other flamingos, their bills are completely black. The pink birds feed on spirulina, a bacteria that give the birds their unique color.

Although the new flamingos are all male, the zoo hopes to add females and begin a reproductive program in the future. Despite the fact they are not considered an endangered species, the birds' main breeding sites are at risk due to pollution and human encroachment, according to the release.

The renovated atrium features a pool especially designed for flamingos, a nesting area and separate holding areas for the birds that share the aviary. The lagoon renovations are part of a larger, donor-funded aviary upgrade project.

General admission to the zoo is $11.50 for adults, $10 for seniors (ages 65 and older) and $8.50 for children (ages 3 to 11). For more information, visit www.oregonzoo.org or contact 503-226-1561.

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