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Tattoo designs - F >> Flamingo Tattoos

Flamingo tattoo designs and symbolsFlamingo Tattoo Meanings - The flamingo is the unofficial symbol of Florida, and of travel to tropical destinations and leisure in general. The flamingo is a status symbol for trailer park residents throughout America, and in it's plastic, lawn-ornament incarnation, is the Icon of kitsch and bad taste par excellent.

The largest gatherings of real - not plastic - flamingos are found in Kenya on the shores of Lake Nakuru. Collectively, this tall, pink, wading bird is referred to as a 'flamboyance' of flamingos, or a 'colony', a 'flurry', a 'regiment', or a 'stand'. Whatever you call them, these highly social animals can be observed at Lake Nakuru, Kenya, up close, and in their millions.

The state of Gujarat, India, has adopted the flamingo as their emblem.

The myth that flamingos sleep on one leg is actually true. The Greater Flamingo (a.k.a. the 'American' flamingo) stands three to four feet tall, although the largest species reaches almost two metres (six feet). With their beak, which is bent downward in the middle, the flamingo feeds on algae, plankton, small fish and brine fly larvae. Living in large flocks, they are better able to spot predators in the vicinity. A flamingo's eye is bigger than its brain. Determining a male from a female is virtually impossible by their external features. They owe their pink colour to their diet of shrimps and other crustaceans rich in carotene pigment.

In Egyptian hieroglyphics, the flamingo was the symbol for red. The citizens of ancient Egyptians revered the flamingo as a living symbol of the sun god, Ra.

In North America, the pink plastic flamingo has become a symbol, perhaps even the epitome of kitsch and bad taste, ranking right up there with black velvet Elvis paintings, mood rings and Hawaiian shirts. Perhaps only the Garden Troll is more reviled. What started as an exotic symbol of the retirement real estate boom in Florida over fifty years ago, the pink flamingo lawn ornament became an indicator of conspicuous consumption, particularly to impress the neighbours with how much a person could spend on his suburban lawn. When it subsequently showed up on the tiny lawns of trailer park homes, it morphed into an icon of trash culture.

Ironically, Florida had hunted its native flamingos to extinction in the 1880s for meat and feathers.

The 1972 film "Pink Flamingos" made the plastic flamingo look so bad that a new ironic appreciation for them was born. For decades they have been viewed as 'retro cool', spawning an even greater demand for these tropical icons. More detailed versions came off the assembly line, aimed at a clientele 'with better poor taste', says the creator of the original pink flamingo.

By the way, they're sold in pairs, one with its head raised, the other with head lowered.

"THINKING PINK MAY HELP FOLKS GO GREEN; Flamingo may become a sign of recycling."

That's a recent headline (2007) announcing a potential new role for the flamingo as a symbol in America. In Ashland, VA, a group demonstrating against the intrusion of Wal-Mart into their community deployed the flamingo as a poke at the company's aggressive and crass commercialism. Soon, the town became a virtual flamboyance of pink plastic flamingos sporting signs announcing 'Small is Beautiful'. Alas, the battle was lost.

Flamingo Inspiration Gallery - Click here to get inspired!But from the ashes of defeat, the flamingo has survived to stand for all preservation battles. To many, it is now a symbol for improving a community's quality of life, and for preserving a location's 'sense of place'. One man's trashy icon has become another man's treasured symbol of a better life.

Get inspired by some really great images and photos in our Flamingo Inspiration Gallery

See also: Bird Tattoo Index

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Tattoo designs - F >> Flamingos

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