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12 animals mistaken for mythical creatures

By: Bryan Nelson on June 9, 2010, 1:25 p.m.
Flamingo preens itself,

Photo: Aaron Logan/Wikimedia Commons

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The flaming hues of pink and red that form a flamingo's plumage can be so striking that many believe the birds could have given rise to the legend of the phoenix. A sacred firebird, the mythical phoenix was first identified by ancient Egyptians as a heron-like bird with crimson feathers. In fact, flamingos spend much of their time wading in salt flats, where convection currents are known to swell and flicker much like a flame.