Flamingo research project wins award

Research which has revealed a ‘school disco’ culture among flamingos has been declared Britain and Ireland’s best captive animal research project.

The project, headed by Paul Rose, a PhD student at the University of Exeter, uncovered a network of popularity contests, cliques, romance, showing off, personality clashes and even a few same sex relationships among the flamingo flocks at WWT Slimbridge.

Paul likened the structures to a school disco or human social media network, calling it a “complex maze” linked by the more gregarious birds.

The research, which won the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Gold Award for Research, has helped WWT improve their flamingo lagoons to help less dominant birds avoid the more dominant ones that would try to exclude them from feeding opportunities.