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The Differences between Flamingos and Red-crowned Cranes

Greater flamingos and Chilean flamingos are the first sight of visitors who enter the entrance plaza at Taipei Zoo. However flamingos are often mistaken for red-crowned cranes. Therefore, it is important to note that the physical descriptions and behaviors of flamingos and red-crowned cranes are totally different. In order to help visitors easily distinguish flamingos from red-crowned cranes, we offer some characteristics of these birds, as follows:

There are up to six distinct species of flamingos in the world and all of them belong to the family Phoenicopteridae, order Phoenicopteriformes. They are covered by feathers ranging from pink to white in color. Flamingos have webbed feet and arcuate bills. Their legs are pink or grey, and some with pink joints. Flamingos feed on plankton and algae. They become territorial in the breeding season.

On the other hand, Grus japonens is the only red-crowned crane in the world, it belongs to family Gruidae, order Gruiformes. Adult red-crowned cranes are about 150 cm in height and show strong territoriality. They have snow white feathers, blackish tips of the wings and necks, and a patch of red skin on the crown. Red-crowned cranes are omnivores and often forage for insects, shrimp, fish and the roots or stems of plants in marsh or wide grassland.