Flamingos are a species of bird known for their bright pink coloring, which can be attributed to the carotene derived from their crustacean- and mollusk-rich diets. Due in large part to their isolated and inhospitable habitat in remote regions of South America, flamingos have few natural predators. Their first and only line of defense is to fly away. However, an array of predators will prey upon and eat flamingos when given the chance.
The greatest threat to flamingos is other birds. Several birds, including the lappet-faced and white-headed vultures, Egyptian vultures and Marabou storks feed on eggs, young flamingos and dead flamingos.
Big cats have a history of hunting and eating flamingos when given the opportunity, especially when a large number of birds converge in one area. Lions, cheetahs, jackals and leopards have all been known to attack flamingos.
Land predators take advantage of low water levels to attack flamingos. Depending on the species of flamingo and their environment, these animals will prey upon flamingos: Andean foxes, Geoffrey's cats, coyotes, raccoons, minks, dogs, baboons, pythons and feral pigs.
The black kite, a bird of prey, will take advantage of flamingo carcasses abandoned by other predators. Another well-known scavenger, the hyena, will enter the flamingo's habitat when the ground is dry. However, hyenas are rarely successful in killing flamingos and tend to cause more panic.
Although man does not eat flamingos, they are generally considered the biggest threat to the bird's survival, as they destroy and exploit the flamingo's habitat. In addition, Andean miners kill flamingos with the belief that the bird's fat can cure tuberculosis.