Do people have mating dances
Flamingos: the pinker, the more aggressive
Aggressive behavior was mostly evident when the flamingos had to stand close together to eat.
One possibility is to jerk your head towards a neighbor without hitting them, which Rose says is a warning. When the whole thing escalates, a flamingo pecks or chops at its neighbor or even snaps its beak into its feathers with a loud screeching sound. The inferior animal then tries to evade this conflict by kicking aside with tight feathers. However, the winner often chases after him, trying to catch the fleeing bird's tail. "Sometimes it's difficult to observe," says Rose.
The price of the color
The scientists found that flamingos with more intense colors caused quarrels and fights more often. "A healthy flamingo - which is indicated by its dark plumage - is a good forage seeker," explains Rose. Such birds behaved dominantly at the feeding places Rose observed and were particularly aggressive towards others when they were fed from a bowl. Due to their dominance, these animals ensure that their plumage is retained, which gives them better chances with equally healthy and pink mating partners.
However, such conflicts, whether in the wild or in captivity, come at a price. They interrupt the animals' search for food and maybe even make them distribute themselves to new feeding places. Aggressive behavior can negatively affect all animals in a group and limit their feeding times.
"The connection between plumage color and aggression is interesting," says Melissa Rowe, an evolutionary ecologist at the Dutch Institute of Ecology in Wageningen. “Especially when you consider that there are still relatively few studies” that deal with the effect of carotenoids on behavior. Scientists working with carotenoids mostly research how the pigments affect courtship behavior and partner choice, adds Tom Pike, who works as a behavioral ecologist at the University of Lincoln in the UK.
Gallery: Rainbow splendor: the birds' plumage
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