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Parrot Toys – Study Shows Orange-Winged Amazons Have Distinct Preferences

Toys are more than just “time fillers” for parrots.  Social and highly intelligent, pet parrots suffer badly when bored, and soon exhibit destructive behaviors or stress-related illnesses.  Zoos are now requiring that toys and foraging opportunities (they call it “Behavioral Enrichment”, sounds better in journals!) be provided to animals ranging from frogs to elephants.  A study recently published in Applied Animal Behavior Science (V.120, N.3) has revealed that, at least for Orange-Winged Amazon Parrots (Amazona amazonica, please see photo), all toys are not created equal.

Parrot Preferences: What and Why

The study compared the reactions of parrots to wooden toys differing in size, color and harness and to rawhide toys that varied in color.  The toys were attached to computer-monitored switches, so that the birds’ reactions would not be influenced by observers, and could be recorded round-the-clock. Read More »

Personality or Appearance – Which Matters Most When Birds Seek Mates?

Male House FinchPeople have long pondered the role that “looks” and personality play in our personal relationships.  Recent studies of the House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) suggest that similar considerations may arise when birds go courting as well.

Drab Plumage…No Problem!

Working with wild House Finches in Arizona, ornithologists from Cornell University and the University of Arizona determined that females preferred brightly-colored (red) males to duller, orange/yellow individuals (American Naturalist, September, 2010).  The somberly-colored males, however, were not so easily put off.  It seems that, in order to compete with “handsome” males, they become more sociable – “friendlier”, if you will – and in that way attract the attention of the otherwise uninterested females.  Read More »

UV Sensitivity in Parrots and UV Protection for People – A Relationship?

Crimson RosellaWe’ve known for some time now that the eyes of Budgerigars and African Gray Parrots are UV-sensitive and can detect UV light.  Humans cannot, but like parrots we are active by day and exposed to UV light throughout our lives.  In many cases, parrot and human life-spans are similar in length, yet, in contrast ourselves, our avian friends’ eyes do not suffer UV damage.  A study at the University of West Australia is seeking to find out why. Read More »

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