Domain:        Eukarya       

Kingdom:      Animalia         

Phylum:        Chordata

Class:            Aves

Order:            Phoenicopteriformes*

Family:         Phoenicopteridae

Genus:           Phoenicopterus

Species:         Phoenicopterus ruber

Subspecies:     Phoenicopterus ruber ruber



* It is debatable whether or not flamingos should belong to their own order, however many people feel that they are so unique with their long legs and curvy neck that they deserve to be in their own order. Some scientists feel that the flamingo belongs to the order Anseriformes, along with the geese because of their similar webbed feet, bill structure, and vocalizations. Others feel that they should be placed in the order Ciconiformes (herons and storks), based on pelvic and rib structure, along with similarities found in mitochondrial DNA.. Recent evidence has even surfaced over the past few years that flamingos are most closely related to grebes and should be placed in the order Podicipediformes.
Photo by Tim Knight






Why is the Caribbean Flamingo Classified the way it is?!?

The Caribbean Flamingo is classified into the Domain Eukarya because it contains cells with membrane bound organelles. These cells are eukaryotic, hence the name Eukarya. It is also in the kingdom Animalia because it is a heterotrophic organism, so it relies on another source to obtain its nutrients.  Chordata was assigned as its phylum because the flamingo had a notochord early on in its development. Along with a dorsal hollow nerve cord, pharyngeal slits, and a post anal tail. The flamingo is classified into the class Aves because it is a bird, which means that it is a warm blooded egg laying vertebrate that has feathers, wings modified for flight, and an active metabolism. The order is Phoenicopteriformes because many people feel that flamingos belong in their own group, even though this is still being debated.. All flamingos belong to the family Phoenicopteridae, except they all don't have the same genus name. Only two out of the five species of flamingo are given the genus Phoenicopterus, and this is because the flamingos in this group all have yellow eyes and a shallow keeled bill with lamellae on the inside. Phoenicopterus ruber is the scientific name for the Greater Flamingo which is further divided into two subspecies. The subspecies name for the Caribbean (American) Flamingo is Phoenicopterus ruber ruber and the subspecies name of the Greater Flamingo is then Phoenicopterus ruber roseus.



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Dipping Flamingo



















By Tim Knight

Genus: Phoenicopterus

         P. chilensis                     P. ruber

Chilean Flamingo                Greater Flamingo



       P. ruber ruber

Caribbean Flamingo                         P. ruber roseus



                  Greater Flamingo


As you can see the Greater Flamingo (P. ruber roseus) is slightly larger than the Caribbean Flamingo and is pale with deep pink wings. The Greater Flamingo also lives in different parts of the world. See Geography to learn more about where the Caribbean Flamingo lives.









Five Different Species of Flamingos!


By Tim Knight
By Tim Knight
                 Lesser         James'       Andean         Chilean       Caribbean      Greater


Phylogenetic Tree
taxon links

Rectangular Callout: As you can see a flamingo is most closely related to a grebe (above), instead of the other wading birds, like the stork, heron, and pelican. Based on this tree it looks like they are also closer relatives to birds of prey, like the hawk and falcon then to the wading birds in the order Ciconiiformes.












Courtesy of Ardastra Zoo