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In the 'Pink' of Health: Flamingos with Deeper Colour Found to be More Aggressive at Feeding

Flamingos have a deep pink plumage that can help scientists understand more about the birds' behaviour | Image credit: file photo

Flamingos have a deep pink plumage that can help scientists understand more about the birds' behaviour | Image credit: file photo

The darker the shade of pink, the more successful the bird is in securing a meal, scientists have found.

The picturesque and colourful dark pink flamingos are considered as one of the most aggressive birds by scientists when it comes to fighting for food.

And as it turns out, the darker the shade of pink, the more successful the bird is in securing a meal.

A research done by the University of Exeter focused on three types of feeding arrangements for the birds – an indoor feeding bowl, a larger indoor feeding pool and a spacious outdoor feeding pool. They primarily studied a few flamingo species at the WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire.

The research observed that the aggressive birds pushed each other as they attempted to get food. It was also noted that dark pink ones were more aggressive than the rest.

However, flamingos were found to be less aggressive when it came to feeding in an outdoor space. This was true for both male and female flamingos.

In a report published by The Guardian, Dr Paul Rose, zoologist at the University of Exeter and lead author on the study, said, “Flamingos live in large groups with complex social structures. Colour plays an important role in this. The colour comes from carotenoids in their food, which for lesser flamingos is mostly algae that they filter from the water. A healthy flamingo that is an efficient feeder – demonstrated by its colourful feathers – will have more time and energy to be aggressive and dominant when feeding.”

The research also stressed how it is more advisable for captive birds to be fed in a wider space.

Elaborating on that, Dr Paul Rose added that when these birds crowd together for food, they tend to squabble more and spend less time feeding.

According to him, to encourage natural foraging patterns and reduce excess aggression, one should promote spacious outdoor feeding areas wherever possible.