Gay Flamingo Couple Raises Well-Rounded Flamingo Child in Zoo Atlanta

Published On 07/19/2016 Published On 07/19/2016

Aside from standing on one leg for 80% of its life -- an act no one fully understands -- and being kitschy lawn ornaments that your eclectic aunt in Florida hordes by the dozen, flamingos rarely do anything interesting. But when they do decide to make headlines, they go all out. Take, for example, these two flamingos that live in Zoo Atlanta who've decided to settle down and raise a family -- the flamingo version of the American dream. But what caught zookeepers' attention was the fact these two lovebirds are both male.

The bird keepers believe the inseparable pair has been together since the 1990s. 20 and 46 (the zoo names animals with numbers) follow each other around, eat with each other, and will even protect each other during those markedly tense flamingo arguments. And what arguments they have. You see, flamingos are notorious for nest stealing, which means no one ever quite knows which egg belongs to which couple, and the zookeepers actually choose what parents raise the eggs. 20 and 46 took over a nest, and then fought like hell to defend it and make it their own. The bird keepers noticed their tough-but-fair parenting style and decided they were suitable candidates to raise a fine flamingo family -- only three pairs were picked!

The baby was lovingly named "50," presumably after the rapper/lover of flamingos. And according to the keepers, 50 recently turned 1 and has since left home to go be a man, a young flamingo ritual almost as old as time. As for 20 and 46? The couple is still together and even earned the award for "Best Flamingo Parents in the Atlanta Zoo," an accolade surely not strictly... for the birds.

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Alex Robinson is Cities Editor at Thrillist and supports the rights of all same sex couples, human or wading bird. Follow him on Twitter @itsalexrobinson.



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