Breeding activity in parrots

May 3rd, 2021 | by Rafael Zamora Padron
Breeding activity in parrots

At Loro Parque Fundación, when parrots express new behaviors, it is something that is quickly perceived. They are not all species, not all specimens. Each one has its own rhythm. But in the largest reserve of parrots that exists, if there is a general stimulus it is perceived in the environment. And it is now, in these months, when many of the white cockatoos sing their vocalizations in the morning and begin to perform them with neck and head movements.

They ruffle their crest feathers, meaning something similar to: we are here! It is clear that all this chorus at dawn, and also at dusk, has to do with the fact that the breeding activity is near.

They are coming out of the period of rest and their metabolism begins an activity that changes their attitude and character. But it’s not just about choreography and singing. It is the turn to work with their beak with greater intensity and to do morning flights that make them warm up, developing their muscles, improving their movement control and showing the rest of the exemplars that they will be in good shape in the coming months.

Blue and Gold Macaw (Ara ararauna) pair

It is exactly the same for parrots that live in a domestic environment. They have noticed that the days are starting to get longer. That outside there are changes in the trees and the climate. Your body reacts in the same way and therefore this aspect should not be ignored. Both for a breeding center, and for the parrot that is cared for by a family, the most important thing is to have the foresight of everything that may happen. Get ahead of this important annual event where animals need to release energy. And its beak must be busy. It is time to gnaw wood and play with elements such as branches and fruits whose shells are not easy to open.

Adult parrots, especially males, should have plenty of fresh wood available. New textures of fresh bark will invite them to break and make holes with their beaks. A task that seems to amuse them and in which they invest many hours throughout the day. In nature it is common to see how in the preferred branches of many species, the tips are missing, which are gnawed. Something that does not seem to harm a living tree, on the contrary, it is a natural pruning that favors even other birds to perch. An innkeeper favors the tree since many birds compost the tree’s soil with their droppings and also provide food or seeds that they transport from other places.

Fresh branches and pieces of trunks, promote the breeding activity as part of environmental enrichment.

A mutual benefit that has been working successfully for a long time. In Loro Parque we can see how in the grandiose aviary of Katandra Treetops, the vegetation grows exuberant despite the fact that at the beginning of the establishment of the installation the parrots seemed to give no truce to the trees. Over the years they grow with great force and that balance advances with the evolution of this impressive ecosystem. In this same place, where Australasian species coexist, we can observe very interesting behaviors dictated by the same birds.

The creation of original nests in palm trunks, where there are even more than three exits and entrances, is one of the best examples of the systems they have to reproduce in a competitive environment. Where others can steal their eggs or nest material. Interactions that our team learns from every day. We might think that for young parrots it is not necessary to provide them with extra wood, however it is part of their training and development of skills for the future.

Cockatoo at Katandra Treetops in Loro Parque.

It is the time to give them fresh branches, pieces of trunks and promote an activity that is part of environmental enrichment and dissipates possible fights between the specimens of the same aviary.

Author: Rafael Zamora Padrón, Scientific Director of LPF

Photos: M.Kortmann/LPF


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