What’s Black and White and Pink All Over? Lesser Flamingo Nocturnal Behaviour Captured by Remote Cameras

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Paul E Rose, Jess Chapman, James E Brereton, Lisa M Riley
Journal of Zoological and Botanical Gardens
, , , ,

The study of animal behaviour is important for the development of husbandry and management practices for zoo-housed species. Yet, data are typically only collected during daylight hours, aligning with human work schedules rather than animal activity patterns. To remedy this, 24 h data collection is needed. This study investigated the behaviour of a captive flock of lesser flamingos to understand temporal changes in their time-activity patterns. Two remote camera traps were placed around the birds’ outdoor enclosure and one within the indoor house. Counts of birds visible within specific enclosure zones were recorded from photographic data. Behaviour was defined as active or inactive, and modified Spread of Participation Index (SPI) was used to calculate enclosure zone occupancy. Results indicated that lesser flamingos are active overnight, and to a similar amount as in the daytime. Proportions of birds observed as active were significantly higher at later times of the day (i.e., dusk) when compared to the number of active birds in the morning. Enclosure usage was diverse and indoor and outdoor zones could be used by different numbers of birds at different times of the day. Variation in enclosure usage may indicate the changing needs of the flamingos when housed indoors overnight and when they have night-time access to an outdoor enclosure. This research has identified the need for further research into the nocturnal behaviour and space use of lesser flamingos and suggests the need for 24 h research in captive birds, and other zoo-held species, especially when species are locked indoors or face behavioural restriction overnight due to biosecurity measures surrounding zoonoses outbreaks, e.g., Avian Influenza.


Back to Resources