Employment of web-based images and a live web cam in the examination of lateral neck-resting preferences in the American Flamingo (<em>Phoenicopterus ruber</em>)

Main Article Content

Matthew J. Anderson
Jennifer L. Urbine
Crosby Wilson
Lorraine Callabro

Keywords

American Flamingo, archival research, images, laterality, Phoenicopterus ruber, resting, web cam

Abstract

When flamingos rest they typically lay their heads on their backs. This forces the birds to curve their neck to either the right or left of their center of gravity. Previous research revealed that American Flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber) on exhibit at the Philadelphia Zoo (Philadelphia, PA, USA) demonstrate a significant population-level preference for resting their necks to the right. In the present report efforts were made to replicate this finding in other flamingo populations, as well as evaluate the potential utility of several novel methodologies in behavioral studies. Study 1 employed an archival web-based image search technique, and yielded a slight, but non-significant, preference for resting the neck to the right for all flamingo species. Study 2 utilized a live web cam at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park (Washington, DC, USA) to more systematically observe a single flock of American Flamingos, and successfully demonstrated a significant preference for right neck-resting. The results of these two studies suggest that this preference is generalizable to other populations of American Flamingo, and perhaps may be present in other flamingo species as well. Advantages and disadvantages of the two employed techniques are discussed.

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