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No, flamingo eggs don’t have pink yolk, but flamingos do produce ‘milk’

“Flamingo eggs have pink yolks,” claims a graphic shared on Facebook on 2 February 2020. “Flamingos also produce pink milk for their young.”

It includes a photo of the pink birds, with an inset showing a cracked-open egg with a bright pink yolk.



Flamingo ‘milk’


It might be surprising to learn that one of these claims is true. Flamingos aren’t mammals, like people and cattle, which produce milk from special mammary glands. But flamingos and a few other bird species do produce something known as “crop milk”. 

As the British Trust for Ornithology and Stanford University explain, this “milk” is different to mammal milk. A PLOS One journal article describes it as “curd-like” and “cheesy”. It’s produced in a sac called the crop, which is usually used for storing food. 

Flamingos produce their “milk” from the lining in their crop. They then regurgitate it out of their beaks to feed their young. But the “milk” isn’t pink.

Pink eggs and spam


The second part of the claim is incorrect.

Flamingo eggs do not have a bright pink yolk. As seen roughly a minute into this YouTube video, the yolk is a dark yellow, like that of a chicken. Other sources, such as Seaworld Parks and Entertainment and National Geographic, also do not mention pink yolks in their descriptions of flamingo eggs.

A reverse image search for the egg with pink yolk turns up a Shutterstock image from April 2015. The image is tagged with words like “colours”, “colourful” and “fun” – but not “flamingo”. It doesn’t show a flamingo egg. – Keegan Leech




 

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