The lineage of flamingos is quite complicated, as they have at different times been placed in the orders Ciconiiformes (long-legged birds like storks) and Anseriformes (waterfowl like ducks and geese), before genome studies revealed they are more closely related to doves and pigeons. They are now placed in their own order, Phoenicopteriformes, in the clade Columbea, which also contains grebes, pigeons, doves and sandgrouses.
The word flamingo comes from the Spanish word “flamengo” which means “flame-colored” and alludes to their bright reddish pink coloration. This color is actually the result of the flamingo’s diet, as they break down substances called carotenoids in the brine shrimp and algae they consume and turn it into pigment, which shows up in the striking reds and pinks of their feathers.
Though the greater flamingo and American flamingo are species of Least Concern according to the IUCN, three other species are considered Near Threatened, and one (the Andean flamingo) is listed as Vulnerable.