If you’re an enthusiastic bird watcher, you may have already seen a large flock of gorgeous American flamingos, many of which are standing on one leg. Surprisingly, some wading birds can also stand alike. That’s why you may confuse flamingos with those wading birds.
Now, you need to know which birds look like flamingos? American flamingo look-alike birds are roseate spoonbills, scarlet ibises, white storks, sandhill cranes, great blue herons, great egrets, painted storks, mute swans, and other flamingo species, including greater flamingos and lesser flamingos.
Do you want to know some crow and loon look-alike birds? We have a couple of recently published articles on them. Once you finish reading here, you can have a look at those articles. You may get informed about such birds that you’ve never seen in your life.
10 Birds That Look Like Cranes [Read more]
10 Birds That Look Like Pelicans [Read more]
10 Birds That Look Like Crows [Read more]
10 Birds That Look Like Herons [Read more]
10 Birds That Look Like Loons [Read more]
Birds That Look Similar to American Flamingos
#1. Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate spoonbills, one of the pink birds in Florida except for American flamingos, live in the coastal areas of the southern United States and the Caribbean. These birds are found in bays, forested swamps, wetlands, and mangroves. Like American flamingos, their bodies are pink due to the carotenoid pigments in their diet.
- Roseate spoonbills have rosy pink and bright magenta feathers.
- They have long legs with pinkish feathers in the upperpart.
- They have long, flat, spoon-shaped bills and red eyes.
- They have bright pink shoulders and a yellowish-green head.
- The underwings are pink, and the necks are long, white, “S” shaped.
Both roseate spoonbills and American flamingos look similar for their pink plumage. These birds have very long, thin legs. In addition, they have relatively small heads. When in flight, both birds look pretty similar from afar.
Roseate spoonbills have much longer bills like spoons with a flattened tip. These birds are shorter than American flamingos. They also have slightly thicker necks. While American flamingos have webbed feet, roseate spoonbills have three toes.
#2. Scarlet Ibis
Scarlet ibises are found throughout South America and the Caribbean islands, particularly in Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Venezuela, and Trinidad and Tobago (the national bird). These birds are usually available in shorelines, estuaries, mudflats, and shallow bays, foraging frogs, fish, mollusks, crustaceans, and small snakes.
- Scarlet ibises are bright red but could be pink due to the lack of enough pigments.
- They have slightly red, short legs with multiple toes.
- They have long and thin bills with a slight downward curve.
- They have wingtips with black splashes.
- Juvenile scarlet ibises have white bellies and pink bills.
When scarlet ibises don’t have enough carotenoid pigments in their diet, their plumage turns pink, looking quite similar to American flamingos. Although these birds are smaller, their body shape is almost the same as that of the American flamingos.
Scarlet ibises are much smaller than American flamingos. These birds have shorter legs and thinner and longer bills. In fact, they’re bright red. While scarlet ibises have black eyes, the eyes of American flamingos are yellow.
#3. White Stork
White storks are available in the Iberian Peninsula, North Africa, Central Asia, and eastern and central Europe. These birds are mainly found in open areas, including wetlands, flooded river plains, meadows, and pastures. They build nests in old trees, rocks, rooftops, and tall chimneys.
- White storks have white plumage with black on the wings.
- They have long, red legs with multiple toes.
- They have long, straight, pointed red bills.
- They have a long neck and dull-brown or grey eyes.
- The breast feathers are long and shaggy.
White storks are not pretty similar to American flamingos. However, the legs of the white storks are long and red, just like those of the American flamingos. Both wading birds have “S” shaped necks, but the necks of white storks are slightly shorter.
As the name suggests, white storks have white plumage. Although some of these birds have pink in their plumage, they’re not as pink as American flamingos. Besides, white storks have longer and heavier bills than those of the American flamingo. While American flamingos are fully feathered, some white storks have bare heads.
#4. Sandhill Crane
Sandhill cranes are popular across the United States and Canada. Lesser Sandhill cranes breed in the Arctic, but greater sandhill cranes breed in the northern United States. These birds are usually found in shallow wetlands, sedges, open grasslands, fields, prairies, lakes, and ponds.
- Sandhill cranes have bulky bodies and grey plumage with some tan feathers.
- They have long necks, small heads, and white throats.
- Adults have a red crown patch.
- They have broad wings with slightly dark wingtips.
- Their bills are large dark, and the legs are long black.
There are a few similarities between sandhill cranes and American flamingos. Sandhill cranes have thin legs and necks like American flamingos, but their legs are black. They also have rounded, yellowish eyes, almost the same as American flamingos.
Sandhill cranes are smaller than American flamingos. These birds have longer bills. Most importantly, they have grey plumage, while American flamingos usually have pink plumage. Although sandhill cranes are wading birds, they’re not usually found near water like flamingos.
#5. Great Blue Heron
Great blue herons are available all over North America, Alaska, and the southern provinces of Canada. In the winter, these birds head to the southern regions, including Florida, Mexico, and the Caribbean. They’re mainly found in trees, open coasts, marshes, riverbanks, lakes, and ponds.
- Great blue herons are greyish-blue overall.
- They have a long, “S” shaped neck.
- They have a black crown on their head.
- Breeding adults have shaggy plumage on the back and neck.
- Their bills are long, dagger-like, and orangish-yellow.
Great blue herons are wading birds like American flamingos. These birds have rounded, yellow eyes, almost the same as American flamingos. Apart from that, both birds are similar in long legs and small heads.
The most noticeable difference is great blue herons have greyish-blue plumage overall, while American flamingos have pink plumage. Their bills are long and straight, but the bills of the American flamingos have a distinct crook. Besides, great blue herons come with greyish-blue legs.
#6. Great Egret
Great egrets, also known as common egrets, large egrets, or great white egrets, are wading birds found in both freshwater and saltwater habitats in North America, southern Europe, Africa, and Asia. They are colonial nesters, usually available in riverbanks, lakes, ponds, and wetlands.
- Great egrets come in a white appearance.
- They have long, S-curved necks.
- They have long, dagger-like, yellowish-orange bills.
- Breeding adults have long feathery plumes on their backs.
- They have entirely black legs and feet.
Both great egrets and American flamingos are wading birds. However, there are a few similarities between these two species. Great egrets feature the flamingo look-alike body shape. These birds have long legs and S-curved necks like American flamingos.
The most noticeable difference between these two birds is the great egrets have overall white plumage, while American flamingos have pink plumage. The legs of the great egrets are black, but American flamingos have black legs. Besides, great egrets have much longer bills.
#7. Painted Stork
Painted storks are mainly found in the wetlands of the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. They’re also available in the United States, particularly in California and Florida. Both male and female painted storks look alike, but males are larger.
- They have a heavy yellow beak with a down-curved tip.
- Adults have orange or reddish, bare heads.
- They usually have long, bright pink tertials.
- They have a black breast band with white scaly markings.
- Their legs are yellowish to red, and the tails are black with glossy green.
Both wading birds have long legs. Painted storks have S-curved necks, just like American flamingos. These birds have bright pink tertials, looking like American flamingos from the back. Besides that, their flight styles are quite similar.
Although painted storks have some pink plumage, these birds are not as pink as American flamingos. Also, the bills of painted storks are much longer and heavier than those of American flamingos. They may have bare skin on their heads, but American flamingos are fully feathered.
#8. Mute Swan
Mute swans can mostly be found in the northeastern and midwestern United States. They’re mainly found in city-park ponds, slow rivers, inland lakes, estuaries, coastal bays, and freshwater wetlands. These birds are monogamous, reusing the same nest each year.
- Mute swans have heavy bodies with entirely white plumage.
- They have long, “S” shaped necks.
- They have bright orange bills with a black base.
- They have black skin around the faces.
- They have short black legs.
Mute swans are one of the white birds like flamingos in long, “S” shaped necks. Both mute swans and American flamingos have webbed feet. When these two species are swimming in the water, they look similar from afar.
Mute swans and American flamingos have different looks. Mute swans have white feathers, but American flamingos have pink feathers. Also, mute swans are smaller than American flamingos. Besides, American flamingoes stay in a large flock, while mute swans stay with their family.
#9. Greater Flamingo
Great flamingos are mostly found in southern Europe, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, and Africa. These wading birds are available around water sources, swimming and flying quite well. They feed on underwater food sources, bending their necks downward.
- Greater flamingos are pinkish-white with black wingtips.
- They have thin, long necks and thin, long legs.
- They have relatively small heads.
- They have large, heavy pink bills with a restricted black tip.
- The legs are entirely pink.
Both greater and American flamingos have thin, long necks and thin, long legs. These two species have relatively small heads. Both have pink heavy pink bills with black tips in the end. S-curved necks are common in both species.
Greater flamingos, on average, are the largest flamingo species in the world. Although greater and American flamingos have pink plumage, the feathers of greater flamingos are pinkish white. American flamingos have pale pink legs, while greater flamingos have entirely pink legs.
#10. Lesser Flamingo
Lesser flamingos are mostly found in northwestern India and sub-Saharan Africa. These birds are also available in the United States, particularly in Florida and California. Like greater flamingos, they stay near water sources to feed on underwater food.
- Lesser flamingos are pinkish-white with black wingtips.
- They have thin, long necks and thin, long legs.
- They have relatively small heads.
- They have large, heavy dark red bills with black tips.
- The legs are pale pink, and the feet are webbed.
Both lesser and American flamingos have similar types of necks and legs. Although lesser flamingos have pink plumage, their pink feathers are actually pinkish-white, just like greater flamingos. Similar to American flamingos, they have small heads and webbed feet.
Lesser flamingos are the smallest flamingo species (80 to 90 cm long). These birds have dark red bills, while the bills of American flamingos are yellowish-pink. Besides, lesser flamingos have red on their wings, but the wings of American flamingos are not reddish.
Now that you know the birds that look like flamingos, identifying these wading birds will be easier for you. In appearance, roseate spoonbills, greater flamingos, and lesser flamingos are quite confusing with American flamingos.
However, American flamingos may look similar to white storks and great egrets if they don’t get enough carotenoid pigments in their diet. Scarlet ibises and painted storks have the same color as American flamingos. Mute swans look alike from afar when they’re swimming.