Watch as downy grey baby flamingo chicks are given brilliant red milk, which is a type of crop milk derived from either of their parents’ upper digestive tracts, by their parents themselves. During the course of their development, newborn flamingos acquire their distinctive pink feathers, as well as adult bills that can filter out dirt and silt from their prey. This BBC video from Animal Super Parents explains how it works in more detail. Also, this explanation from Live Science is rather good:
How do Baby Flamingos Become Pink?
Due to the fact that flamingos reside near bodies of water such as lakes, swamps, and wetlands, they primarily consume algae, insect larvae, and small crustaceans such as shrimp and mollusks.
The beta carotene found in the red and blue-green algae that they ingest is a naturally occurring organic compound that has a reddish-orange hue. (Beta carotene can be found in a wide variety of plants, but it is particularly abundant in tomatoes, spinach, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and, of course, carrots.) The carotenoids found in the mollusks and crustaceans that flamingos consume are comparable to those found in humans.
The digestive system of the bird removes pigment from carotenoid-containing foods, which is then dissolved in lipids by the bird’s digestive enzymes. The lipids are then deposited in the new feathers of the flamingo as it grows, and the colour of the baby flamingo gradually changes from blue to pink.
Flamingo chicks can be speedy!