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We provide a systematic review of the current scope of published behavioral research on flamingos (Phoenicopteridae), to answer the following questions: (1) what is the profile of ethology and behavioral research on flamingos, (2) which are the behaviors displayed by flamingos already observed and described in nature and captivity, and (3) what are the prospects in the ethological research of the group? Eighty-eight studies, from 1978 to 2020, met our inclusion criteria and were analyzed. Most involved maintenance and social behaviors in the context of ecology and welfare. Furthermore, most studies were performed on animals in captivity and controlled conditions, but there was a recent trend of studies in the field, mainly in South America and the Caribbean. The most studied species were greater and American flamingos, but there is a recent rise in studies on Chilean and Andean flamingos in Latin America. Most ethological studies on this group included quantitative analyses, ignoring a more qualitative perspective of the individuals’ displays. Behavior description can also help in comparative studies between flamingo species and other water birds. Expanding research to Andean, James’s, and lesser flamingos is a priority, since their populations are more vulnerable. Ethological research can help identify the threats and measure the impacts on these species, which can be useful for setting up management plans and conservation actions to mitigate the damage and avoid extinction.
acta ethologica – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 1, 2022
Keywords: Behavioral ecology; Ethology; Interactions; Phoenicopteridae; Phoenicopteriformes
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