Can You Own a Pet Flamingo? Is It Legal?

can you own a flamingo

No, you can not own a flamingo as a pet, and it’s not legal to own a flamingo as an individual without government approval. Flamingos are protected under the Migratory Bird Act, and in order to have a pet flamingo, you will need to have a special license.

Can you own a pet flamingo?

You can’t have a flamingo and keep it as a pet. Keeping a flamingo at home is not legal, and to own a flamingo, you need to have a proper license.

Another reason why it is not a good idea to keep a flamingo if you are not experienced is the fact that flamingos need special care and treatment.

Professional flamingo keepers know that flamingos are very social animals and that you should never hold only one. In the flamingo world – the more, the better.

Consequently, it is recommended to have at least 10 birds with a wide-open area where they nest and get their portion of the sun. Flamingos are tropical animals, and they do well in a warm climate.

Since they are a popular site in Zoos across the world, special housing is needed, especially in countries where the climate is colder than their natural habitat.

Related Article: How Smart Are Flamingos?

is it legal to own a flamingo

Is it legal to own a flamingo?

Similar to many other wild animals, it is not legal to own a flamingo. In general, the rule of thumb is that most wild animals are illegal to hold as a pet.

Some species are easy to take care of and are not endangered, so you can keep them as pets. Usually, those can be bought at the pet store or an authorized breeder.

Please don’t catch any wild animals yourself. It could be dangerous and illegal. Leave that to professionals.

Related Article: Can You Eat a Flamingo?

Do flamingos make good pets?

Flamingos are wild animals, and it is not something pretty to have in your backyard. They are not meant to be pets, and it is not legal to own them without an appropriate license.

Having this in mind, with proper care and the right living conditions, flamingos are able to live well in captivity.

The lifespan of flamingos in captivity is almost double that of living in the wild. In captivity, they can reach the old age of 50, while wild animals live between 25 and 30 years.

How to take care of a flamingo?

We already pointed out that flamingo pets need special care, but let’s dig dip deeper into how to take care of a flamingo.

The famous pink color of the flamingo feathers is actually not natural. Meaning flamingos are not born pink, and they get their distinctive looks from food.

In the wild, they get their fabulous pink color from the pigments in the organisms they eat. They feed mostly on red algae, insects, larva, and shrimp. Much of their food is rich in beta carotene, a pigment that is later absorbed in their face, legs, and feathers.

In captivity, a pet flamingo’s diet should include pellets containing pigment and everything they need to maintain their color. Flamingos eat by pumping water and catching food with their beaks. To enable this, Zoos and animal parks that hold flamingos need to simulate the same and provide them with small ponds and water areas for feeding.

In areas where the winter is colder than their natural habitat, flamingos require special housing. Luckily, they are resilient birds, and with proper handling and care, they are enriching Zoos in all parts of the world—even countries with harsh winters, like Canada.

How much does a flamingo cost?

Flamingos are social animals, and they are only sold in flocks. If you have a proper license and have permission to keep flamingos, you should have not less than ten. They need a flock for their health and wellbeing.

The price will depend on the species and the number of animals you would like to buy. It also depends on the country. The price may vary from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Are flamingos friendly to humans?

Flamingos are usually calm and not aggressive animals. In many Zoos, they walk freely in the areas where they can interact with humans.

Even though they have a powerful beak and sharp claws, they are generally peaceful towards people. This doesn’t mean that they would like to be pet or touched by Zoo visitors.

We should have in mind that they are wild animals, and they should be treated in that way. Yet, flamingos can be aggressive towards other birds and notably when in groups.

Read Also: Can Flamingos Be White?


In summary – can you have a flamingo as a pet?

Well, you probably can’t since It is not legal to have flamingo pets without a proper license. They are protected by the law, and it is illegal to own them as pets.

Flamingos require special food to maintain their pink color, and they need open space with water areas for feeding. They are not pet material and should be treated as wild animals.