Phoenicopterus, the latin name for flamingo, means “Crimson wing”, the flamingo is said to be the inspiration for the crimson-winged phoenix, the ancient symbol of transformation and re-birth. Flamingoes are characteristic species of soda lakes in the Rift Valley in Kenya and Tanzania, especially Nakuru, Bogoria, Elementaita and Turkana. Their breeding ground is Lake Natron, in northern Tanzania.
Two species occur in Africa: Greater flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber and Lesser flamingo Phoeniconaias minor. They are long legged wading birds adopted to a unique method of filter feeding. The two species avoid direct competition by feeding on different food items at different depths, with major diet being spirulina and diatoms.