The James flamingo is smaller than the Andes flamingo, and is similar in size to the Old World flamingos, the small flamingo. A specimen of this species was first collected by Charles Rahmer, who was on an expedition sponsored by Harry Berkley James, for whom the species was named. The James flamingo is about 90–92 cm long on average and weighs about 2 kg. The James flamingo has a very long neck made up of 19 highly moving and rotating neck vertebrae .
They have characteristic long legs. The knee is not visible from the outside but is located above the leg. The joint in the middle of the leg, which most people think of as the knee joint is actually the ankle joint. Its coat is very pale pink, with bright crimson streaks around the neck and back. When they perched visible a small amount of black that could be seen in the wings, those were flying feathers. There is light red skin around the eyes, yellow in adult birds. The foot is brick red and the bill is bright yellow with a black tip. The James flamingo is similar to the other South American flamingos, except the Chilean flamingo is pinker, with a longer beak not yellow, and the Andes flamingo is larger with more black on the wings and beak, and yellow legs. The simplest method of distinguishing the James flamingo is by the lighter and lighter yellow feathers on the beak. A good way to differentiate Phoenicoparrus from other species is to look at the feet. The other three species of flamingos include three forward-facing toes and a hallux (turned-out toe). Two species of Phoenicoparrus have three toes but do not have a hallux.
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