Fostered flamingos just as friendly

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Andean flamingos with newly hatched Chilean flamingo foster chicks, summer time 2018. Credit: Paul Rose

Flamingo chicks raised by foster mother and father from one other flamingo species develop usually, scientists say.

Six Chilean flamingo chicks had been reared by Andean flamingos—a species of comparable measurement and habits—at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre in the summertime of 2018.

University of Exeter scientists studied the chicks’ habits after they re-joined the Chilean flamingo flock early in 2019.

The outcomes confirmed fostering had no unfavorable results, with fostered flamingos nonetheless forming secure social ties—making “friends” and behaving like parent-reared birds.

“Slimbridge’s Andean flamingos hadn’t nested for about 20 years,” mentioned Dr. Paul Rose, of the University of Exeter.

“But within the sizzling summer time of 2018—in all probability because of the excessive temperatures—they made nests and laid eggs.

“Unfortunately, the eggs turned out to be infertile, probably because of the age of the birds—a few of them are approaching their 60s.

“To give them enrichment (permitting them to behave naturally), keepers positioned six eggs from the Chilean flamingo flock to be raised by the Andean flamingos.

“This gave us a rare opportunity to study the effects of fostering—although it should be noted that these species are remarkably similar, and this would not have been attempted otherwise.”

Fostered flamingos just as friendly
Andean flamingos with newly hatched Chilean flamingo foster chicks, summer time 2018. Credit: Paul Rose

Peter Kidd, then a pupil on Exeter’s MSc Animal Behavior course, noticed and recorded the chicks’ habits from April to July 2019 (after their return to their very own flock).

These observations had been used to check integration and social networks.

“The six fostered chicks and seven parent-reared chicks quickly bonded back together,” Kidd mentioned.

“We discovered very slight behavioral variations—sufficiently small to be defined by particular person variation—and all chicks grew to become embedded within the wider social community of the group.

“They all had favored ‘friends’ to spend time with, which is normal flamingo behavior.”

Species together with the Andean flamingo uncommon in captivity (solely two flocks worldwide) and are categorised as “vulnerable” within the wild.

Flamingos could be difficult to breed recurrently in captivity, so the findings about profitable fostering could assist zoo conservation applications.

Fostered flamingos just as friendly
Chilean flamingos with their chicks, summer time 2018. Credit: Paul Rose

“Foster rearing appears to be a safe method for conservation breeding of these species if done correctly,” Dr. Rose mentioned.

“It is important to note that this fostering event went so smoothly because of the expert flamingo knowledge within the animal care teams at WWT.”

The paper, printed within the Journal of Zoo and Botanical Gardens, is entitled: “Influences of rearing environment on behavior and welfare of captive Chilean flamingos: a case study on foster-reared and parent-reared birds.”


Flamingos kind agency friendships


More data:
Peter Kidd et al, Influences of Rearing Environment on Behaviour and Welfare of Captive Chilean Flamingos: A Case Study on Foster-Reared and Parent-Reared Birds, Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens (2021). DOI: 10.3390/jzbg2020013

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University of Exeter


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