Plumage variation and social partner choice in the greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Hani D. Freeman, Annie J. Valuska, Ryan R. Taylor, Gina M. Ferrie, Alison P. Grand, Katherine A. Leighty
Zoo Biology
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There is evidence that plumage coloration is related to mate choice in several different bird species. However, the relationship between plumage coloration to mate or other social partner choice has rarely been investigated in flamingos. This is important to study because we know plumage coloration can be an indicator of welfare. We assessed plumage color score in relation to sex, age, and social partner choice over a 9-month period in a flock of 34 adult greater flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) living at Disney’s Animal Kingdom®. When looking at primary social partners, redder males were more likely to have primary social partners compared to less red males. In addition, primary social partners tended to have similar color scores to each other. These findings provide insight into one factor that might influence social partner choice in greater flamingos living in ex situ situations. Future studies should investigate how these results relate to reproductive success as part of ex situ management. Zoo Biol. 35:409–414, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


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