Plural of Flamingo

by Craig Shrives

The Quick Answer

The plural of flamingo is flamingos or flamingoes.

The Plural of Flamingo

The plural of flamingo is flamingos or flamingoes.
  • Well-fed, healthy flamingos are more vibrantly colored. correct tick
  • Flamingoes aggressively defend their nesting sites. correct tick
The noun flamingo adheres to the standard rules for forming the plurals of nouns in English (shown in the table below).

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The Standard Rules for Forming the Plurals

The table below shows the standard rules for forming the plurals of nouns in English.
Type Example of Type Forming the Plural Plural
Most Nouns lamp
add s lamps
Noun Ending s, sh, ch, x or z bus
add es buses
Nouns ending [consonant] o flamingo
add either s or es
(There are no rules for this - you have to know.)
flamingos or flamingoes
Nouns ending [vowel] o patio
add s patios
Nouns ending [consonant] y story
change the y to an i and add es stories
Nouns ending [vowel] y storey (small British flag)
add s storeys
Nouns ending f or fe dwarf
ves and/or s
(There are no rules - you have to know.)
Exceptions man
some nouns undergo a vowel or letters change men
More exceptions salmon
some nouns do not change at all salmon
Read more about English spelling rules.

Why Is There Confusion over the Plural of flamingo?

There is confusion because the rule for forming plurals with nouns ending in o isn't straightforward. Most nouns will just add an s. For example:
  • Zoo becomes zoos.
  • Piano becomes pianos.
Some add es. For example:
  • Potato becomes potatoes.
  • Torpedo becomes torpedoes.
With some words, both versions are accepted. For example:
  • Mango becomes mangoes or mangos.
  • Echo becomes echoes or echos.
The plural of flamingo can be either flamingos or flamingoes. Unfortunately, there is no clever way of knowing which nouns ending o follow which rules. You have to know. (For example, you have to know that solo becomes solos, but tomato becomes tomatoes.)

Though flamingos and flamingoes are both accepted plurals, flamingos is the more common of the two. (See the difference in Google's Ngram Viewer.)

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See Also

Unusual pluralsPlural forming table Quirks with forming plurals Forming the plurals of abbreviations Forming the plurals of compound nouns