Flamingos Produce Red Crop Milk To Feed Their Baby Chicks

Things aren’t always what they seem, and one video shared by the Science Channel goes to show just that. The video initially appears quite gruesome. It looks like one flamingo is bludgeoning the head of another, while a baby flamingo drinks the “blood” that’s dripping down.

However, this seemingly horrific moment is actually quite sweet. It turns out, it’s nothing more than two flamingos trying to feed the same chick.

In their post, the Science Channel wrote, “These flamingos are trying to feed the same chick with red crop milk.”

Flamingos produce what’s known as “crop milk” that’s red in color. According to SeaWorld, this crop milk is “a secretion of the upper digestive tract.” It’s red in color due to a pigment called canthaxanthin. And according to Wikipedia, the flamingo isn’t the only bird to feed its young with crop milk. Doves, pigeons, and emperor penguins also use this method of feeding, though the coloring of the milk may not be red.


According to Discover Wildlife, parent flamingos use so much of the color pigment when producing the milk, that by the end of the breeding season they appear white, having lost the pink in their feathers!

What did you think when you first watched the video?

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