Remote trail cameras at WWT Slimbridge have been watching what flamingos get up to once the wardens have gone home.
The footage shows that the flamingos forage and roam widely in their enclosure in the dark and are just as active as their wild counterparts at night.
Dr Paul Rose, who conducted the study by monitoring 270 greater flamingos, said: “As Slimbridge houses the biggest zoological collection of flamingos anywhere in the world we’ve managed to discover a lot about their behaviour patterns.
“The results are fascinating as it suggests that flamingos are hard-wired to stay active.”
The flamingos moved more widely around their enclosure and foraged more in the evening. In the morning and middle of the day they tended to be in one specific place for resting and preening. Some behaviours, such as courtship displays, were most commonly performed during the day.
This research has important implications for how experts manage zoo populations of flamingos; by providing a habitat that is suitable for a wide range of activities, including those not witnessed during the day, the birds are encouraged to behave as they would in the wild.
The paper, published in the journal Zoo Biology, is entitled: Patterns of nocturnal activity in captive greater flamingos.
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