Parrot Urban Legends?

Parrot Urban Legends?

Oct 15, 2012

FOUR BEHAVIORS OF PARROTS: URBAN LEGENDS ?? (or should I say ‘Forest Legends’?)
by Stewart Metz, M.D. Director, Indonesian Parrot Project Project

POSTULATE #1:

AGGRESSION BETWEEN PARROTS IS IDENTICAL IN CAUSATION BETWEEN THAT IN CAPTIVITY AND THAT IN THE WILD

It is not uncommon in the U.S. for our parrots to express aggressive behavior against their co-habitant parrots or against their caregiver. Many explana.ons for this behavior have been proposed, most frequently one of hormonal changes (eg, testosterone surges). But is aggressive behavior “hard-wired” (ie, innate) or is its expression acquired in cativity?

Steve Martin, a highly-respected parrot trainer and behaviorist, pointed out several years ago that six of the best known scientists studying parrots in the wild over many years, only very rarely observed aggression, at least to achieve a favorable “dominance hierarchy” (PsittaScene, August, 2001). Even in these encounters, it was very uncommon, he wrote, to lead to the drawing of blood, and oBen appeared to be brief and a type of play behavior (PHOTO #1) [Of course, parrots in the wild can fly away, unlike parrots caged together in captivity, where, Martin writes, establishment of a dominance hierarchy through aggression does occur under cramped conditions].

However, true aggression does occur in the wild, of course. Wallace wrote: I once saw two males fighng together; each had a fore-leg laid across the neck of the other, and the rostrum bent quite in an atude of defiance…They pushed at each other with their rostra, and clawed …apparently in the greatest rage. Thus, while aggressive behavior by parrots both in the wild and in captivity the frequency and causes appears to differ. For parrots in the wild, such behavior is often designed to protect their nestholes or nests **

[** The rumor that such behavior was first described in an obscure jungle best-seller –“One Flew Over the Cockatoo’s Nest” — may itself be only a tongue-in-cheek myth.]

Read more here.

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