Pinker flamingos more aggressive

Intense pink flamingos are more aggressive than paler competitors when contesting food, brand-new research study programs.

Pink plumage signifies health in lower flamingos, and a flush of colour typically implies they are all set to reproduce.

So when the birds squabble over food, the pinkest flamingos – both male and female – tend to press the others around.

The research study, by the University of Exeter and WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, likewise discovered the birds battle more when food is readily available in a little location such as a bowl – so the findings recommend captive birds need to be fed over a large area where possible.

“Flamingos reside in big groups with complex social structures,” stated Dr Paul Rose, of the University of Exeter.

“Colour plays an essential function in this. The colour originates from carotenoids in their food, which for lower flamingos is primarily algae that they filter from the water.

“A healthy flamingo that is an effective feeder – shown by its vibrant plumes – will have more energy and time to be aggressive and dominant when feeding.”

Dr Rose studied the behaviour of Slimbridge’s lower flamingos in various feeding scenarios: at an indoor feeding bowl, a bigger indoor feeding swimming pool, and outdoors with food readily available in a big swimming pool.

In the outside swimming pool, birds invested less than half as much time showing hostility, while foraging time doubled (compared to when fed from a bowl).

“When birds need to crowd together to get their food, they squabble more and for that reason invest less time feeding,” Dr Rose stated.

“It’s not constantly possible to feed these birds outdoors, as lower flamingos just weigh about 2kg and are belonging to Africa, so captive birds in locations like the UK would get too cold if they went outside in the winter season.

“Nevertheless, this research study reveals they need to be fed over as broad a location as possible.

“Where possible, developing large outside feeding locations can motivate natural foraging patterns and lower excess hostility.

“This research study reveals that zoos do not need to make substantial modifications to how they keep their animals to make a huge, advantageous distinction to animal behaviour.”

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Lesser flamingos do not have a reproducing season – they reproduce when they remain in sufficient condition.

This is typically shown by a “pink flush” in the plumes, Dr Rose stated, and the birds then end up being paler once again throughout the strenuous days of early being a parent.

He included: “This research study is an excellent example of why I enjoy dealing with WWT Slimbridge.

“Based upon my observations, I recommended some modifications – and the keepers wanted to attempt them out.

“As an outcome, we get pinker, more unwinded flamingos.”

The colour of specific birds in the research study was scored from one (primarily white) to 4 (primarily pink).

No distinction was discovered in between males and women in rates of feeding or hostility.


The paper, released in the journal Ethology, is entitled: “What affects hostility and foraging activity in social birds? Determining specific, group and ecological qualities.”

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