Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Flamingos form long-lasting friendships, study shows
Flamingos form social bonds rather than loose, random connections.
Findings could help in the management of captive flamingos

Flamingos form long-lasting friendships, and captive flocks should contain as many birds 'as reasonably possible', according to new research.

The finding by scientists at the University of Exeter also shows that we should be careful not to separate flamingos that are closely bonded to each other. 

In the study, researchers analysed data from four species of flamingo over five years. The four flocks of Caribbean, Chilean, Andean and Lesser Flamingoes were based at the WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire.

Scientists found that, despite being highly social in flocks, flamingos consistently spend time with close “friends”. They also found that flamingos avoid spending time with certain individuals, suggesting that some flamingos don't get on with others.

Study author Dr Paul Rose, explains: “Our results indicate that flamingo societies are complex. They are formed of long-standing friendships rather than loose, random connections.

“Flamingos don’t simply find a mate and spend their time with that individual. Some mating couples spend much of their time together, but lots of other social bonds also exist.”

He added: “Flamingos have long lives – some of the birds in this study have been at Slimbridge since the 1960s – and our study shows their friendships are stable over a period of years.

“It seems that – like humans – flamingos form social bonds for a variety of reasons, and the fact they’re so long-lasting suggests they are important for survival in the wild.”

Among the social bonds found by the researchers include “married couples”, same-sex friendships and even groups of three to four close friends.

The flocks varied from just over 20 flamingos to more than 140, with bigger flocks containing a higher number of interactions.

Dr Rose said that the results could help in the management of captive flamingos.

“When moving birds from one zoo to another, we should be careful not to separate flamingos that are closely bonded to each other,” he said. “The simple lesson of this is that captive flamingo flocks should contain as many birds as reasonably possible”.

The study, 'Evaluating the social networks of four flocks of captive flamingos over a five-year-period: Temporal, environmental, group and health influences on assortment' is published in Behavioural Processes.


Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Do you know a practice wellbeing star?

News Story 1
 Has someone in your practice team gone above and beyond to make your workplace a positive one during the coronavirus pandemic? Then why not nominate them for a 2020 Practice Wellbeing Star!

The joint RCVS Mind Matters Initiative/SPVS Practice Wellbeing Star nominations recognise individuals who have held up morale during a time when practices are facing unprecedented staffing and financial issues.

Nominees receive a certificate in recognition of their colleagues' appreciation of their achievements and will be entered into the prize draw for a pair of tickets to attend the joint SPVS and Veterinary Management Group Congress in January 2021.

 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
WellVet reopens ticket sales to online conference platform

Following the success of its online conference, the organisers behind WellVet Weekend have re-opened ticket sales to allow new delegates to access session recordings and its online networking platform.

The day-long conference saw more than 360 veterinary professionals mix activity sessions with personal development CPD, all hosted within a virtual conference platform. Now, with more than 500 minutes of CPD available, the resource is being re-opened to allow full access to the session recordings until May 2021.

Sessions are aimed at providing delegates with a range of proactive wellbeing tools to explore to find ways of improving their mental and physical health. Tickets are limited in number and on sale at wellvet.co.uk until 30th August 2020.