Join our zoo community

Black (melanistic) flamingo spotted in Israel?

Discussion in 'Wildlife & Nature Conservation' started by Jana, 16 Nov 2013.

  1. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    11 Feb 2008
    Posts:
    1,415
    Location:
    Czech republic
  2. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Dec 2012
    Posts:
    15,999
    Location:
    fijnaart, the netherlands
    Looks very únnatuaraly' to me but ( almost ) everything is possible. Untill more pictures are published I also can imagion it's photoshopped....
    Another mystery melanistic species from which rumors are going around is the Hyacinthine macaw but sofar haven't seen photos of them.
     
  3. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    25,912
    Location:
    New Zealand
  4. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Dec 2012
    Posts:
    15,999
    Location:
    fijnaart, the netherlands
  5. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Dec 2012
    Posts:
    15,999
    Location:
    fijnaart, the netherlands
  6. Elephas Maximus

    Elephas Maximus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4 Sep 2012
    Posts:
    723
    Location:
    Russia, Ekaterinburg
    This one should better be in captivity... so it leaves more than just photos for science.
     
  7. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    25,912
    Location:
    New Zealand
    or... it could just be left to live its life in the wild. It seems to be doing just fine there.
     
  8. Elephas Maximus

    Elephas Maximus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4 Sep 2012
    Posts:
    723
    Location:
    Russia, Ekaterinburg
    Then it would just not be observed anymore one day, singled out and killed by predator or hunter/poacher, as many weird-colored animals end up, while the genes, oportunity to take closeup pics and the specimen's body itself are lost forever.
    Haven't the many color morphs for other species in aviculture been bred in similar way? The difference with flamingoes is that they produce morphs not so readily as parrots or passerines.
    A line could be started with single specimen regardless of gender, and with clever approach it won't get by white tiger way :)
     
  9. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    2,965
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Is there a particular reason that we need black flamingoes in captivity, though?
     
  10. Elephas Maximus

    Elephas Maximus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4 Sep 2012
    Posts:
    723
    Location:
    Russia, Ekaterinburg
    Same reason as for leucistic ravens - unusual appearance. Captive-bred population origins from captured individuals.
    While parrots & passerines can occasionally produce a moprh in captivity if parents are normally coloured.
     
  11. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    2,965
    Location:
    Melbourne
    So do you want it caught to create a zoo population of black flamingoes, or for private aviculture?

    I'm not seeing the conservation or education argument for doing so in the former case. And private keepers can wait for the gene to (maybe) occur naturally in captivity. I see no particular reason why a wild bird should cease to be wild because there's a lot of money to be made in breeding it.
     
  12. Elephas Maximus

    Elephas Maximus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4 Sep 2012
    Posts:
    723
    Location:
    Russia, Ekaterinburg
    At least to secure the specimen from being lost (=eaten or rotten) in the wild, selective breeding is a secondary priority.
    Herp guys would understand better :) everything unusual was captured and bred from asap.
    And the only unnaturally-colored animals that should be left in the wild are cetaceans.
     
  13. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    2,965
    Location:
    Melbourne
    If it gets eaten it gets eaten. That's what sometimes happens to wild animals.

    Well, ok, there's two things here. Yes, mutant reptiles tend to get taken from the wild and bred from to establish the mutation in captivity. But just because it happens doesn't mean it *should* happen.

    This isn't done to protect the animal, as is ostensibly your priority. It's to make the first breeder (and usually the handful of people he or she sells F1 and F2 stock to) an awful lot of money. Whilst I'm sure there are flamingo breeders out there who would love to have this bird, that's not enough justification in itself to take it from captivity.

    The flamingo appears to be doing fine. There are no welfare grounds for taking it from the wild. Eventually it will die for one reason or another. It may successfully pass on its genes before it dies. If it doesn't, well, that's kinda how evolution works.
     
  14. Elephas Maximus

    Elephas Maximus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4 Sep 2012
    Posts:
    723
    Location:
    Russia, Ekaterinburg
    In last centuries, weird animals were hunted, for museum collections as well. Now they're tend to be captured (excluding game species). Not just because of monetary worth, but scientific value also matters.
    Leaving ethics aside, is letting this flamingo be and counting how long it would last in the wild is more scientifically important for ornithology than possibility to observe it up close, research its genes and ultimately determine a maximum lifespan?

    Speaking about 'coolness'...
    Let's imagine, that, for example, black swans never existed as a species or went extinct long ago leaving only vague memories... but suddenly a melanistic mute or whooper is found in the wild!
    What do you choose - letting it be in this case too, or breeding it cause the species is already semi-domesticated (unlike flamingoes)?
     
  15. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    2,965
    Location:
    Melbourne
    But it's just a melanistic flamingo. We know how melanism works from what I'm sure are hundreds of examples in other species. If we did need to do DNA analysis it could be caught long enough for a sample to be taken and released again. Its maximum lifespan in biological terms will be the same as any other flamingo.

    The *only* reason to bring it into captivity is so we can breed black flamingoes. Any other justification is window dressing.

    A black whooper swan would be a black swan, but it wouldn't be a C.atratus. It's just a black-coloured swan. Interesting, to be sure but not of scientific value. Its value would be aesthetic and, consequently, monetary.

    I'm not sure what difference looking like a different species, extinct or not, would actually make.
     
  16. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    25,912
    Location:
    New Zealand
    not even that. Just go find any feathers it's dropped. It wouldn't be hard to tell which one(s) came from the melanistic flamingo.
     
  17. Elephas Maximus

    Elephas Maximus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4 Sep 2012
    Posts:
    723
    Location:
    Russia, Ekaterinburg
    I'm more into specimen preservation than into breeding, if you know :)

    Not exactly - melanistic animals tend to live longer than their normally colored counterparts due to better disease resistance (btw it's the only benefit for this bird in the wild, while being disadvantage for 'safety in numbers')

    Oldest flamingo lived to 83 (only due to captive care), this one can make it to 100 - but not in the wild.
     
  18. Elephas Maximus

    Elephas Maximus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4 Sep 2012
    Posts:
    723
    Location:
    Russia, Ekaterinburg
    Dead feathers are pretty useless since they contain no living cells, and even a found live one (e.g. plucked in a fight) quickly becomes contaminated if not collected soon.
     
  19. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    25,912
    Location:
    New Zealand
    feathers are used for genetic research all the time. Even feathers from museum specimens are used for genetic research, and you can't get much deader than that!
     
  20. Elephas Maximus

    Elephas Maximus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4 Sep 2012
    Posts:
    723
    Location:
    Russia, Ekaterinburg
    The genome becomes more fragmented as the time passes, a living feather always gives better results than dead one.
    Now, if researchers get that specimen's DNA in any way, it would be only a matter of time for 'greedy' flamingo breeders to order its cloning... it happens as soon as flamingo genome manipulation advances to same level as for poultry, and is much more possible than cloning of passenger pigeon or other extinct avian species.
    Btw what is the purpose of keeping greater flamingoes at zoos besides of ornamental and educational? The species is not endangered, and its captive breeding can't support wild populations.
    So black greater flamingoes should have same 'rights' as fancy morphs of other bird species to exist in captivity and be exhibited at zoos, whether bred for profit or not - observing an intraspecific variability is educational too.