Tracking technology illuminates American flamingo behavior

Audubon’s Lorenz co-authors manuscript

Posted 7/13/21

Flamingos are unusual birds that are practically synonymous with Florida, even though they are rarely seen in the wild.

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Tracking technology illuminates American flamingo behavior

Audubon’s Lorenz co-authors manuscript

Posted

MIAMI — Flamingos are unusual birds that are practically synonymous with Florida, even though they are rarely seen in the wild. Over the past several decades, however, more sightings led to new research about this iconic species to provide support for efforts to declare Flamingos as native.

Starting in 2015, Audubon Florida’s Director of Research Jerry Lorenz, PhD, took part in a study to determine the American Flamingo’s (Phoenicopterus ruber) natural history and habitat needs. Led by Steven Whitfield (Zoo Miami) and other experts, the team affixed a tracking device to a young American Flamingo captured at the Naval Air Station at Boca Chica Key, Florida, to help scientists learn about its movements. The study tracked the bird, named “Conchy,” for nearly two years and reported on the bird’s whereabouts before the tracking device stopped transmitting signals.

According to the study, the flamingo spent much of its time around mangrove-fringed islands and mudflats at Snake Bight (Everglades National Park) within Florida Bay. The data showed that Conchy moved across the islands as prey became available, but did not leave Florida as many anticipated it would.

Findings from the study can help guide management strategies for Florida Bay and surrounding regions with ramifications for Flamingo conservation in the future.

Audubon protects birds and the places they need, today and in the future. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive.

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