Greater flamingos are gregarious birds, and form large colonies numbering sometimes in the thousands. Individual birds do not defend territories although they do sometimes exhibit aggressive behavior such as bill-fighting, chasing, threatening, and mate protection.
The bill of the greater flamingo is a distinguishing characteristic of the Phoenicopteridae Family to which all flamingo species belongs. The bill of a flamingo is thick and down-turned midway along its length. The lower bill is thicker than the upper bill.
When the bird opens its bill, the resulting gap is the same distance along the length of the bill. This enable more efficient filtration of water and capture of food. The inside of the bill is lined with rows of keratinous plates called lamellae. The lamellae in turn, are covered with tiny hairs that form an effective filtration system in a similar manner to the baleen filtration present in some whales.
`--Phoeniconaias minor (Lesser Flamingo)
|--Phoenicoparrus andinus (Andean Flamingo)
`--Phoenicoparrus jamesi (Puna Flamingo or James' Flamingo)
|--Phoenicopterus chilensis (Chilean Flamingo)
`-–Phoenicopterus ruber (Greater Flamingo)
|–-Phoenicopterus ruber roseus (Greater Flamingo)
`–-Phoenicopterus ruber ruber (Caribbean Flamingo)