The flamingo

   The flamingo is a graceful, rose-pink, aquatic bird with long neck and stiltlike legs. It is about 5 feet high. Often it balances on one leg with the other leg and the head buried in its plumage while its long neck is coiled on its breast and back. In flight the neck and legs are extended droopily, and its black flight feathers are conspicuous. Its call is a loud gooselike honking. The mollusks on which it feeds are strained from shallow muddy water by its boxlike bill, which it scoops back and forth.
   Flamingos nest in immense colonies on muddy flats. Each nest is a mud cone a few inches or a foot high. On the concave top one or two white eggs are brooded by the bird grotesquely perched with legs drawn up under it. Flamingos cannot breed successfully in areas accessible to predatory animals, and they are also disturbed by airplanes that fly low over the breeding grounds.
   The American flamingos, once abundant in Florida, are now seldom seen there except when displayed as captives in parks and tourist attractions. This species breeds in the Bahama Islands, South America, and the Galapagos Islands. The flamingo of Europe and Asia often winters in huge concentrations in Africa. In South America are two other species, nearly white but with scarlet wing covers.