10 Birds That Look Like Flamingos

Birds That Look Like Flamingos

Did you spot a flash of pink flying through the sky recently and wonder which bird it was? Well, whenever we hear pink, our brain goes straight to the flamingos, and for a good reason. These magnificent birds indeed possess a plumage so striking it could even put wall paintings to shame.

However, what we’re here to tell you today is that these birds might not be as unique as you’d think. There are many other avian creatures that bear a close resemblance with the flamingos, and in our article today, we’re going to talk about ten such birds.

Stay with us till the end to learn about who these birds are and what are the similarities and differences between them and the flamingos. Let’s get started!


1. Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill - eBird

Scientific name: Platalea ajaja
Height: 71-86 centimeters (28-34 inches)
Weight: 1.2-1.8 kilograms
Wingspan: 120-133 centimeters (47-52 inches)
Lifespan: around 10 years

Named after their rose-colored plumage, the Roseate Spoonbills are large wading birds that inhabit the mangroves and marshes of South America. But in recent years, their sightings have been reported in many parts of the United States, including Virginia, upstate New York, and Washington D.C.

Roseate Spoonbills have a small, hairless head with a greenish tinge, a long, white neck, chest, and back. Their long, spatulate bills are greyish, with small, red eyes and pink legs.

Their plumage is light pink in color, with fringes of dark pink. Both sexes of these birds appear identical, lacking sexual dimorphism.

Their resemblance to Flamingos

The pink plumage and legs of Roseate Spoonbills resemble that of the American Flamingos. In fact, when flying at a distance, one might even be confused for the other.

In fact, surprisingly enough, the pink coloration of both these birds is derived from their diet.

Here’s how you can tell these birds apart:

  • Roseate Spoonbills are half as tall as American Flamingos.
  • While American Flamingos are pink all over, Roseate Spoonbills only sport the color on their wings and legs.
  • Unlike the spoon-shaped bills of Roseate Spoonbills, American Flamingos have thick, downturned bills.


2. Scarlet Ibis

Scarlet Ibis - eBird

Scientific name: Eudocimus ruber
Height: 55-63 centimeters (22-25 inches)
Weight: about 1.5 kilograms
Wingspan: 54 centimeters (21 inches)
Lifespan: around 16-20 years

Although Scarlet Ibises closely resemble other Ibises in form, Traditional Linnaean taxonomy classifies them as a unique species. And indeed, their vibrant scarlet coloration makes these waders stand out brilliantly.

Except for their black eyes, every part of their body – head, neck, back, plumage, and feet – is covered in scarlet. However, you might notice darker tinges scattered around their wings. Their bills are scarlet as well but bear some grey markings towards the base.

While both sexes of the adults harbor identical plumage, there’s some dimorphism in their size. The males are not only larger than their female counterparts but also possess longer bills than them.

Their resemblance to Flamingos

Although the plumage of Scarlet Ibises is slightly darker than that of American Flamingos, the two appear quite similar from a distance. Both have small heads, curving necks, and long, thin legs.

Here’s how you can tell these two apart:

  • The eyes of American Flamingos are yellow, unlike the black eyes of Scarlet Ibises.
  • They possess shorter and thicker bills than the latter. Their bill coloration and shape are also quite different.
  • American Flamingos are significantly taller than Scarlet Ibises.


3. Siberian Crane

Siberian Crane - eBird

Scientific name: Leucogeranus leucogeranus
Height: 115-127 centimeters (45-50 inches)
Weight: 4.9-8.6 kilograms
Wingspan: 210-260 centimeters (6.11-8.6 feet)
Lifespan: around 15-30 years

Also referred to as Snow Cranes, the Siberian Cranes are critically endangered crane species that inhabit the river basins and wetlands of Siberia.

They are distinguished from other cranes due to their tendency to forage deeper waters and their high-pitched, goose-like whistling calls.

Siberian Cranes are quite large in size and have a brick-red face and dark bills, with the rest of their body covered in pure white plumage. Their long legs are pinkish in color, while their eyes are yellowish.

While both adult sexes harbor the same plumage, there is dimorphism in their size, with the males being the larger sex.

Their resemblance to Flamingos

The size and body structure of Siberian Cranes is not very different from the Chilean Flamingos; both have small heads, long, curving necks, and long legs.

Here’s how to set these birds apart:

  • Unlike the thick, downturned bills of Chilean Flamingos, which are only partly black, Siberian Cranes have thinner bills.
  • Chilean Flamingos possess pale pinkish plumage, while the plumage of Siberian Cranes is stark white.


4. Painted Stork

Painted Stork - eBird

Scientific name: Mycteria leucocephala
Height: 93-102 centimeters (36-40 inches)
Weight: 2-3.5 kilograms
Wingspan: 150-160 centimeters (59-63 inches)
Lifespan: around 20-28 years

Named after their bright pink tertial feathers, the Painted Storks are a near-threatened wader species found in the tropical plains and wetlands of Asia.

They’re among the larger stork species with a long, heavy yellow bill that curves downwards like that of the Ibises. While their bare face is orangish in color, with their neck, throat, chest, and back being white in color.

Their primary wings are also white, while the secondary wings are black in contrast. Both sexes of the adults have an identical plumage; only the females are smaller in size than their male counterparts.

Their resemblance to Flamingos

Besides having a similar body structure, Painted Storks also share pink tertial wings with the Chilean Flamingos. One might also confuse them for the latter from behind.

Following are the differences between their appearances:

  • Painted Storks are slightly shorter than Chilean Flamingos.
  • Unlike Painted Storks, only the tip of Chilean Flamingos’ bills is yellow, with the rest of it being black. The shapes of their bills vary greatly as well.
  • Aside from their tertiary feathers, Chilean Flamingos possess a pale pink plumage, unlike the black and white plumage of Painted Storks.


5. Whooping Crane

Whooping Crane - eBird

Scientific name: Grus americana
Height: 132 centimeters (4.4 feet)
Weight: 4.5-8.5 kilograms
Wingspan: 2-2.3 meters (6.7-7.7 feet)
Lifespan: around 22-24 years

Considered the tallest birds of North America, Whooping Cranes are an endangered crane species that breed in the marshes, bogs, and prairies of North America.

While the adult Whooping Cranes have a primarily white body, they possess a red crown on their head and black patches on either side of their bills. Their eyes are yellow, and their feet are black. They also have black wing tips, which are only visible in flight.

The adults display sexual dimorphism only in size, with the males being heavier than their female counterparts.

Their resemblance to Flamingos

Of all the flamingo species, the Greater Flamingos come the closest to the Whooping Cranes in terms of appearance. Both these birds are extremely tall, have thin, long legs, a small face, curving necks, and light plumage.

Following are the differences between these birds:

  • Unlike the white plumage of Whooping Cranes, Greater Flamingos have a pinkish-white plumage.
  • The bills of Greater Flamingos are thick, black, and curve downwards, while Whooping Cranes have yellowish, straight-pointed bills.


6. Great Egret

Great Egret - eBird

Scientific name: Ardea Alba
Height: 80-104 centimeters (31-41 inches)
Weight: 0.7-1.5 kilograms
Wingspan: 131-170 centimeters (52-67 inches)
Lifespan: 15 years

Often confused with the Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets are a widely distributed species of herons found abundantly in the marshes and mud flats of Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Southern Europe.

Great Egrets have a completely white body with the exception of black wing tips that are only visible during flight. They have long, sharp orange bills, greyish-black legs, and black webbed feet. Their eyes have a bright yellow hue that grows darker with age.

Their resemblance to Flamingos

Great Egrets and Lesser Flamingos are of nearly the same height. Both waders possess a light plumage, have S-shaped necks, and have long, thin legs. However, that’s where their similarities end.

Here’s how they are different from one another:

  • Lesser Flamingos’ plumage has a pinkish touch, whereas the plumage of Great Egrets is completely white.
  • They have pink legs, unlike the dark legs of Great Egrets.
  • Their eyes are pink, while Great Egrets have yellow eyes.


7. American White Ibis

American white ibis - Wikipedia

Scientific name: Eudocimus albus
Height: 60 centimeters (24 inches)
Weight: 900-980 grams
Wingspan: 90-105 centimeters (35.4-41.3 inches)
Lifespan: 14-17 years

The American White Ibises are a mid-sized Ibis species that are found in abundance in the wetlands and mangrove swamps of the United States.

These waders have white plumage with black wing tips that are usually visible only during flight. Their most distinctive feature is the pink facial skin and the downwards curved bill, which is bright orange in color. They have electric blue eyes, orangish-pink legs, and feet.

Although the male and female American White Ibises have the same plumage, they display sexual dimorphism in size, with the males being bigger and heavier.

Their resemblance to Flamingos

American White Ibises have a light plumage and pink legs, just like the Lesser Flamingos.

Here’s how you can tell these birds apart:

  • Lesser Flamingos are taller in comparison to American White Ibises; their legs are also longer than the latter.
  • Their plumage isn’t pure white as the Ibises but has a pinkish touch.
  • They have pink eyes, unlike the blue eyes of White Ibises.


8. White Stork

White Stork - eBird

Scientific name: Ciconia ciconia
Height: 100-115 centimeters (39-45 inches)
Weight: 3.1 to 4.5 kilograms
Wingspan: 115-215 centimeters (61-85 inches)
Lifespan: 22-35 years

White Storks are found in the riverbanks and meadows of South Africa, some parts of Europe, and the Asian Subcontinent.

These storks have mainly white plumage with black wing coverts and flight feathers. Their breast plumes are long and shaggy and are used in courtship displays during their mating season. They have bright red beaks and red legs, which are said to be derived from carotenoids in their diet.

Both sexes of adults have identical plumage and display sexual dimorphism in size, with the males being somewhat larger than the females.

Their resemblance to Flamingos

Both White Storks and Greater Flamingos are of roughly the same height, possess pink bills and legs, and have white plumage. They also have their black secondary flight feathers in common.

Here’s how you can tell them apart:

  • Greater Flamingos’ pink bills have a bold back tip, unlike the completely pink bills of White Storks.
  • Their white plumage has a pinkish wash, which is absent in the White Storks.
  • They have pink eyes, while the eyes of the latter are black.


9. Capped Heron

Capped Heron - eBird

Scientific name: Pilherodius pileatus
Height: 51-59 centimeters (21-23 inches)
Weight: 444-623 grams
Wingspan: 26-28 centimeters (10-11 inches)
Lifespan: around 20-25 years

Endemic to the rainforests of South America, the Capped Herons are a sedentary heron species that resemble the night herons in appearance but are actually diurnal.

Capped Herons are distinguished from other herons for their striking blue face and bills. They also have a black cap atop their head, which starkly contrasts with their white body. You can also notice light buff stains around their throat and neck.

Both sexes of adult Capped Herons are identical in size and plumage, displaying no sexual dimorphism.

Their resemblance to Flamingos

The only resemblance between Capped Herons and Lesser Flamingos is that they both have a light plumage.

Here are the features that set these birds apart:

  • Lesser Flamingos are considerably taller than Capped Herons.
  • Their plumage is pinkish-white, unlike the pure white plumage of the latter.
  • They have thick, dark, downward-curved bills, while the bills of Capped Herons are thin, straight, and blue in color.


10. Mute Swan

Scientific name: Cygnus Olor
Height: 125-170 centimeters (49-67 inches)
Weight: 9-11.5 kilograms
Wingspan: 200-240 centimeters (79-94 inches)
Lifespan: 20-30 years

Did you know that Mute Swans were named so not because they don’t have any vocal abilities but because they’re much quieter than the other swan species?

These are adaptable birds found in farm ponds, urban lakes, and coastal estuaries in most of Eurasia and the Great Lakes region in the United States.

These birds have a pure white plumage with grayish legs and a bright orange beak with a knob on top of it (larger in males). They also have black patches around their nostrils and the edge of their beaks.

The adults display sexual dimorphism only in their size, with the males being larger and heavier than their female counterparts.

Their resemblance to Flamingos

Mute Swans are closest to Greater Flamingos in size, and the only similarity they share is their light-colored plumage.

Here are some major physical differences between these birds:

  • Greater Flamingos are at least three times lighter than Mute Swans.
  • Their legs are much longer than the latter, and the coloration varies as well.
  • The bills of Greater Flamingos are thick, unlike the flat bills of Mute Swans.


Final words

With this, we’ve reached the end of our article. Let’s do a quick revision of what we’ve learned today.

As you might’ve noticed above, most birds on our list are waders, which makes sense because their similar body structure supports their similar habitats and lifestyle. Of all the birds, only two share the pink plumage of flamingos: Roseate Spoonbills and Scarlet Ibises.

Heron vs. Egret: What Is The Difference?

Stork Vs. Crane: What’s The Difference?

Heron Symbolism and Spiritual Meaning (Totem, Spirit, and Omens)