Skip to Main Content
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance logo
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library logo

American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) Fact Sheet: Population & Conservation Status

Population Status

Population estimates

  • 260,000-330,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2016)

Estimates from 1990s through 2001

  • Galapagos Islands: 435 (Brueker & Vargas, 1998; Delany & Scott, 2002)
  • Bahamas: 60,000 (Delany & Scott, 2002)
  • Cuba: 100,000 to  200,000 (FSG, 2000; Delany & Scott, 2002)
  • Venezuela, and Bonaire: 34,000 (Delany & Scott, 2002; Espinoza et al., 2000)
  • Yucatan Peninsula:  30,000 (Delany & Scott, 2002)

Conservation Status




  • Believed extinct in 1924, the James' flamingo was rediscovered in 1957, its range overlapping that of the Chilean flamingo.
  • Large protected areas important to protection of flamingos
    • Shift habitat use with seasonal changes in food and environmental conditions

Threats to Survival


  • Habitat loss due to road construction and coastal development (houses, docks, industrial, etc.)
  • Lead poisoning due to the ingestion of lead shot
    • Lead bullets now prohibited in some areas
  • Large numbers of tourists, bird watchers and photographers can disturb colonies enough to cause substantial losses of eggs and young.


  • Because the color of feathers fades quickly after plucking, the feather trade of the early 20th century did not exploit flamingos the way it did many other bird species.

Page Citations

Baldassarre & Arengo (2000)
BirdLife International (2016)
Brueker & Vargas (1998)
Delany & Scott (2002)
Espinoza et al. (2000)
FSG (2000)

SDZWA Library Links