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Caribbean Flamingo (1998)
Acrylic on illustration board
40" x 15"
(private collection)

 The six species of flamingo, including this one (Phoenicoptera ruber) which occurs in, of all places, the Caribbean region, are filter feeders that strain small organisms from the water with highly modified beaks and tongues that look and work remarkably like little baleen whale heads. In order to show this filter feeding in action, I placed the viewer under a few inches of water, where this business often takes place. Although the Caribbean flamingo is often associated with the state of Florida, birds that are seen there, or anywhere else in the United States, are probably feral, and despite the fact that the flamingos were once common visitors to the peninsula state, it is generally agreed that they never bred there in historic times. Today the only large breeding colonies of these birds are on Cuba, Hispanolia, Great Inagua, the Yucatan penunsula, Bonaire and a disjunct population on the Galapagos Islands.