Flamingos are pink or orange or white depending on what they eat. Flamingos eat algae and crustaceans that contain pigments called carotenoids. For the most part, these pigments are found in the brine shrimp and blue-green algae that the birds eat. Enzymes in the liver break down the carotenoids into the pink and orange pigment molecules deposited in the feathers, bill, and legs of the flamingos. Flamingos that eat mostly algae are more deeply colored than birds that eat the small animals that feed off of algae. Captive flamingos are feed a special diet that includes prawns (a pigmented crustacean) or additives such as beta-carotene or canthaxanthin, otherwise they would be white or pale pink. Young flamingos have gray plumage that changes color according to their diet.