How Is The Leader Of An Animal Flock Decided?

9 August 2018, 16:47

Flocking Goose
Flocking Goose. Picture: Getty images

Mystery Hour Question

When goose fly in the ‘v’ formation, how is the order of arrangement decided? Mike, Cambridge.


** Definitive **

Name: Susan, Bourne

Qualification: Studied Evolutionary Animal Behaviour

Answer: There is a mathematical formula which can be applied to how animals behaviour in a group - it’s all down to survival of fittest and natural selection.

The stronger the animal is/the more times they have survived past experiences the more likely they will place themselves in the front or the middle of the flock.

Animals that are on the same level of survival will swap between themselves to stand within what they consider to be the safest place, the middle.

The edge of pack is considered dangerous i.e getting lost

This formula is applicable to many animals that move in a swarm so fish, insect etc.