A flamingo looks like a bird cooked up by a toddler after a litre of red cordial – absurdly long legs, knobby ankles, and an outsize beak – and collared with the brightest crayon in the box.
But the sum of its physical oddities enables the Caribbean flamingo to thrive in salt pans, mudflats, tidal lagoons, and mangrove swamps.
The glorious feathers? They seem to exist purely for our delight, but in fact they are not pink at first. Chicks hatch with white feathers that turn grey – and later take their pink colour from aqueous bacteria and beta-carotene obtained from their food.
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