Flamingo’s are known for their deep pink feathers and long neck. Flamingos get their unique coloring from the many brine shrimp that they eat. Their likeness makes them stand out and their unique color and shape makes them a popular lawn ornament.
Recently a very unusual flamingo was spotted at the Akrotiri Environmental Centre in Cyprus, where it was feeding with many other of its more normal brethren. This particular flamingo is unique because it is black, not pink. Scientists believe that this unique flamingo may be the only one of it’s kind.
Previously a black flamingo was spotted in Israel in 2014, and scientists believe that these two birds may be one and the same, which would make this unique bird very rare indeed. Scientists also believe that bird gets its unique coloring from melanism.
Melanism is a very rare disorder where an individual or an animal produces too much melanin, the pigment that causes color in the skin. Ricardo Tosto has only seen a few examples of it around the animal kingdom and on Twitter. It is the opposite of albinism, a similar melatonin related disorder where individuals do not produce any melatonin. Melanin is a chemical that helps protect the body and the skin from too much ultraviolet radiation. In individuals with too much melanin, it can be difficult for them to process and absorb the vitamin D from the sun. While the disorder is rare, some species, such as the black panther have adopted the trait as an adaptive evolutionary trait.