Early view articles now available to download here:
Article 1. Laterality and temperature effects in flamingo resting behaviour.
A webcam and online weather data were employed to study laterality and temperature effects in resting Caribbean flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber) on display at Chester Zoo (Chester, UK). Consistent with previous research, a significant population-level preference for rightward neck-resting was observed, no evidence for lateral support leg preferences during unipedal resting was obtained, and a relationship between temperature and unipedal resting was found, such that on cooler days more birds were seen resting on one leg. These results offer support for the generality of the lateral preference toward rightward neck-resting in Caribbean flamingos, as well as the role of unipedal resting in thermoregulation.
Article 2. Does flock size affect greater flamingo sociality and vigilance in captive collections?
With at least 7000 individuals held in zoos, the greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is a popular zoo bird. In captivity, flock size varies from three to 300 birds, yet wild flocks may exceed 1,000 birds. To investigate the effect of flock size, we investigated a small flock of 35 birds at ZSL London Zoo, and a large flock of 274 birds at WWT Slimbridge from March to July 2015. To measure welfare, we analysed the enclosure use, social network structure, and proportion of vigilance expressed by both flamingo flocks. Both flocks at London Zoo and Slimbridge showed a similar pattern of enclosure use, with uneven enclosure use shown during the day. A comparison of vigilance behaviours revealed while there was no significant difference in levels of vigilance between the large and small flock, however, individual birds were more vigilant in the small rather than large flocks. However, vigilance levels were considerably lower than those of wild flocks. Larger flocks may provide greater opportunities for social interactions between birds, allowing some individuals to reduce their time spent engaged in vigilance.
Article 3: Population status and trend of lesser flamingos at Lakes Natron and Manyara, Tanzania.
The wild lesser flamingo population count at Lake Natron and Lake Manyara was carried out in January 2012, 2016 and 2017. The population of lesser flamingos was estimated using a ground count technique with the aid of a pair of binoculars and telescope to identify and count flamingos at each side of the two lakes. A total of 20,378 flamingos were observed and recorded at both sides of Lake Natron while at Lake Manyara a total number of 25,262 flamingos were counted at both sides of the Lake. The results revealed that the average count of lesser flamingos for the ten years from 1992 to 2012 at Lakes Natron and Manyara were 193,756 ± 63083.9 and 404,854 ± 223404.2 birds respectively. The general trend of the lesser flamingo population for these ten years for these two lakes indicates that the population is declining. A larger decline was observed at Lake Manyara from 1995 to 2017 in contrast to at Lake Natron. From this study, recommendations are given for more counts to be conducted to further improve our understanding of the temporal and spatial distribution and abundance of lesser flamingos in Tanzania, and across Africa as a whole.
Short report 1: Counts of greater and lesser flamingos from Bagamoyo, Tanzania.