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Laterality. 2009 Jan;14(1):66-78. doi: 10.1080/13576500802233722. Epub 2008 Jul 16.

Individual differences in the preferred neck-resting position of Caribbean flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber).

Author information

  • 1Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, PA 19131, USA.

Erratum in

  • Laterality. 2012;17(6):755.


When resting, flamingos often lay their heads along their backs. While in this position they must curve their necks to either the right or left of their midline. Observations of captive Caribbean flamingos at the Philadelphia Zoo (Philadelphia, PA, USA) were conducted in order to determine if individual birds would display consistent preferences in neck-resting position over multiple observations. While individual birds were shown to vary greatly in regards to the strength and direction of their preferences, a significant flock-level preference towards neck resting to the right was obtained. Analysis of individual flamingos revealed that 5 out of 17 birds displayed preferences that significantly differed from chance, with each of these birds preferring to rest their necks to the right. From the present data we can conclude that flamingos display behavioural laterality of neck-resting position at both the level of the group and that of the individual.

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