- (archaic) A flamingo.
“The zoologist pointed out the phoenicopter habitat, but then had to explain that he was describing the flamingos.”
“My neighbor has a flock of plastic phoenicopters in her backyard.”
“The phoenicopter is mostly found in warmer climates.”
Latin, late 16th century
Why this word?
Do you know what a phoenicopter eats to turn it pink? Shrimp! Do you know what a phoenicopter is? A flamingo! The flamingo’s beta-carotene-rich diet (found in algae and shrimp) turns it from a natural gray into a vibrant pink, which seems to be one of the ubiquitous facts children learn. However, the name “phoenicopter” has almost dropped out of use. The ancient historian Pliny used the word “phoenīcopterus,” which came from an ancient Greek word that meant “red-feathered.”
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