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Researching behavior in wild parrots

Expert Question

Hi, I'm looking for information on the social behavior of wild Budgerigars, Cockatiels and Agapornis roseicollis, Cacatua sulphurea and Psittacus erithacus, including e.g. relationships between mates (how long they stay together, interactions between them etc), interactions with other members of the flock, grooming etc... Do you know of the social behavior of these birds, or do you know of any literature or articles that deals with social behaviors of particular species of wild birds? I find that most books deals with the social behavior in a very general way...

Very thankful for some help in answering these questions!

Expert Answer

Dear Christina, Most parrots form long-term monogamous pair bonds, generally for life, although 'divorces' do occur in some cases.  Budgies may be the exception here, although I'm not sure that has yet been studied.  These topics are very hard to study on wild parrots, so you may be asking a lot of questions that are simply not yet answered.

I would recommend you start with Forshaw and Cooper's "Parrots of the World" the 3rd edition if you haven't had a look at that already, and also review the sources referenced in there. You can then look for newer literature on the subject by doing a Google "Scholar" search on the species names you've listed here and other key words like "social" or "flock" to see what you get.  If you're not familiar with that part of Google, look for the "more" tab at the top of the Google page, and depending on your browser, you may need to select 'even more' to get all the Google options. We also link to Google Scholar from within the Parrot Encyclopedia found on our website. To do so, simply go to the encyclopedia, select the parrot you would like to research and then scroll down the text on the main profile page. Near the bottom, you will see a link for 'Recent Academic Research'. Click on that link and you will be sent to a predefined search at Google scholar for the species that you are researching.

Good luck with your research!

Jamie Gilardi, PhD
About Jamie Gilardi, PhD

James Gilardi has been the Executive Director of the World Parrot Trust since November 2000. His work includes developing and implementing field conservation initiatives. He is a conservation biologist specializing in behavioural and physiological ecology with special interest in tropical forest birds and marine vertebrates.

Following undergraduate studies at UC Santa Cruz, he earned a Ph.D. in Ecology from UC Davis studying parrot social behaviour, foraging ecology, and soil-eating in south-eastern Peru. James has also worked on parrot field conservation in Guatemala, St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Mexico.

In the fall of 2000, James Gilardi became the director of the World Parrot Trust, where he is inherently involved in carrying out parrot conservation and education programs around the world.