Difference between Lesser and Greater Flamingo


Lesser and Greater flamingoes have the longest necks and legs relative to body size compared to other family of birds. This enables them to wade in deep water. The long necks allow them to feed from the bottom of lakes where they reside. In shallow water, they sweep their bills from side to side stirring tiny organisms. They have filters at the edge of beak and tongue that is used to trap what they feed on. Flamingoes feed on brine, shrimp, insect, snails, algae among other things.

They are usually found in large flocks with both Lesser and Greater flamingoes sometimes mixing. When on flight, they fly with necks and legs fully extended. They are mostly found on alkaline lakes. In Kenya they are majorly found in the Kenya Lake System which comprises of Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Elementaita.


Lesser Flamingo

It is smaller than the greater flamingo when it comes to body size. The plumage is also a deep pink with the bill being pale pink with black tip. Both sexes are alike with young and immature being drab greyish white. They are gregarious birds and mostly found in alkaline waters. Lesser flamingoes are surface feeders filtering their food from water top. By contrast Greater flamingo filter their food from the bottom of shallow lakes. Main diet of Lesser flamingo is microscopic blue green algae. They can also swim into deeper water to feed on the surface. Their colonies are larger than Greater flamingoes sometimes comprising up to 1.2 million pairs. For breeding, the mud nest are built in inaccessible salt flats and mud flats to keep away predators.



It is larger than the Lesser flamingo and pale in colour. Plumage is pinkish white with parts of the wing being reddish. The bill is thick drooping bill majorly pale pink with black tip. Both sexes are alike with young and immature being drab greyish white with a pale coloured bill which is different from immature Lesser which is dark. Their colonies are much smaller than Lesser flamingoes. They walk steadily when feeding keeping the head submerged up to 25 seconds stirring the bottom mud with its feet. It filters the mud with bristles in its bill for aquatic insects and crustaceans among other orgasm. Constructs a tall mud nest with a depression for 1 egg.  It can also build nest made up of stones on rocky ground.