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>)

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

Keywords

Abstract

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.


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


Resumen: Uso de imágenes en vivo y de la web para examinar las preferencias de descanso del cuello en posición lateral del Flamenco Americano (Phoenicopterus ruber)- Generalmente cuando descansan, los flamencos ubican sus cabezas sobre sus espaldas. Esto fuerza a las aves a curvar sus cuellos, ya sea a
la izquierda o derecha de su centro de gravedad. Investigaciones anteriores revelaron que el Flamenco Americano (Phoenicopterus ruber) en exhibición en el Zoo de Filadelfia (Filadelfia, PA, USA) muestra una preferencia significativa a nivel poblacional por descansar sus cuellos sobre el lado derecho. En el presente reporte se llevaron a cabo esfuerzos para replicar estos resultados en otra población de flamencos así como para evaluar la utilidad potencial de varias metodologías nuevas en estudios conductuales. En el estudio 1 se empleó una técnica de búsqueda de imágenes archivadas en la web y se encontró una ligera, pero no significativa, preferencia de descansar el cuello hacia la derecha en todas las especies de flamencos. El estudio 2 utilizó una cámara web en tiempo real en el Smithsonian National Zoological Park (Washington, DC, USA) para observar con más sistematicidad un bando de flamencos y demostró exitosamente, una preferencia significativa por descansar el cuello hacia el lado derecho. Los resultados de ambos estudios sugieren que la preferencia es generalizable a otras poblaciones de Flamenco Americano y quizás esté presente en otras especies también. Se discuten las ventajas y desventajas de las dos técnicas empleadas.


Palabras clave: cámara web, descanso, Flamenco Americano, imágenes, investigación de archivo, lateralidad,
Phoenicopterus ruber


Résumé: Utilisation d’images internet et d’une webcam pour l’observation des preferences dans la position laterale de repos du cou chez le Flamant des Caraïbes (Phoenicopterus ruber)- Lorsque les flamants se reposent, ils posent de manière caractéristique leur tête sur leur dos. Cela les oblige à courber leur cou vers la droite ou vers la gauche de leur centre de gravité. Des recherches antérieures ont montré que les Flamants des Caraïbes (Phoenicopterus ruber) du zoo de Philadelphie (Pennsylvanie, États-Unis) préféraient significativement courber le cou vers la droite. Dans la présente étude, il a été tenté de répliquer ces résultats sur d’autres populations de flamants et d’évaluer l’utilité potentielle de plusieurs nouvelles technologies pour les études comportementales. La première étude a utilisé une technique de recherche basée sur des images d’archives sur internet et a montré une préférence légère mais non-significative de la courbure du cou vers la droite chez toutes les espèces de flamants. La deuxième étude a utilisé une webcam placée au Parc Zoologique National Smithsonian (Washington, District de Colombia, États-Unis) pour observer plus systématiquement un groupe de Flamants des Caraïbes. Une préférence significative de la courbure du cou vers la droite a ainsi été démontrée. Les résultats de ces deux études suggèrent que cette préférence est généralisable à d’autres populations de l’espèce et pourrait être présente chez d’autres espèces de flamants. Les avantages et les inconvénients des deux techniques font l’objet d’une discussion.


Mots clés: Flamant des Caraïbes, images, latéralité, Phoenicopterus ruber, recherche d’archives, repos, webcam

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