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Bathing behavior of captive Orange-winged Amazon parrots (Amazona amazonica)

By Shannon M. Murphy, Jerome V. Braun, James R. Millam

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Feather maintenance behaviors, particularly preening and bathing, are nearly universal in birds, though their expression and function vary across species. Based on the rain-bathing style of wild Amazon parrots, parrots were sprayed with water to simulate rainfall, and subsequent bathing behavioral parameters were recorded as well as behavioral states accounting for activity budgets 1h pre- and post-spray. When parrots were sprayed on Day 0 and next sprayed 2, 4 or 6 d later, it took more than 4 d for bathing bout length, bathing latency and number of birds bathing to return to values comparable to Day 0. Across three different times of the day (morning, midday, afternoon) all but one parrot bathed in the morning while fewer parrots bathed in the midday and afternoon time periods. Bathing duration in the morning was 10.8±1.7min and decreased significantly in later time periods while latency-to-bathe time in the morning was 1.4±0.3min and increased thereafter. Further, there were no significant effects of bathing on resting and feeding across the day but significant effects on preening were evident, with preening dropping to negligible levels after bathing; this is consistent with a motivational relationship between bathing and preening. Captive parrots displayed several postures and a general sequence of postures that resembled those of wild rain-bathing parrots. When other parrots in the same room were sprayed, non-sprayed parrots performed sham-bathing, possibly reflecting social facilitation of bathing. Results show that captive Orange-winged Amazon parrots have a bathing bout length of ∼10min, with a refractory period of >4 d and a tendency to bathe in the morning.

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 132
Issue 3
Pages 200-210
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2011.04.010
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal welfare
  2. Budgets
  3. Enrichment
  4. Feathers
  5. preening