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Mark Catesby (1682-1749)

Head of the flamingo and gorgonian c.1725

RCIN 925909

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When Catesby visited the Bahamas in 1725 he would have seen gorgonian (a soft coral) and flocks of flamingo. He rarely depicted an isolated part of a creature, but the structure of the flamingo’s beak clearly interested him. He recorded that ‘Nature has provided the edges of their Bill with a Sieve, or Teeth, like those of a fine comb’, which allows flamingos to filter their food out of the mud.