Psittaciformes are popular pets and aviculture species. However, in captivity they show species variation in susceptibility to problems such as stereotypic behaviours and poor breeding. For example, feather-damaging behaviour (e.g., self-plucking) is prevalent in African grey parrots, Psittacus erithacus, but rare in Senegal parrots, Poicephalus senegalus; while monk parakeets, Myiopsitta monachus, breed readily, yet blue-throated macaws, Ara glaucogularis, do not. Comparing species using phylogenetic comparative methods can unpick fundamental bases of problems; thereby identifying species pre-disposed to be good pets and informing captive breeding management. We investigated relationships between species-typical biological traits proposed to influence welfare, and three welfare-sensitive captive outcomes: feather-damaging behaviour (FDB), other stereotypic behaviours (SB), and hatch rates (HR). Prevalences of FDB and SBs for 53 species (~1,380 birds) were gleaned by surveying pet parrot owners. Captive HRs (chicks hatched/breeding pair/p.a.) for 122 species came from Allen and Johnson (1990 Psittacine Captive Breeding Survey). Using phylogenetic generalised least squares regressions, we assessed effects of the following aspects of species-typical biology on welfare: sociality (maximum group size, communal roosting); foraging effort; ecological flexibility (diet and habitat breadth); intelligence (innovation rate, relative brain volume); and IUCN conservation status. Effortful foraging modes (T3, 34=-2.25, P=0.03, λ=0.88) predicted FDB. Relatively large brain sizes predicted SBs (whole body: T3, 36=2.84, P=0.01, λ=0.29; oral: T3, 37=3.62, P=<0.01, λ=0). More threatened species had lower captive HR (T5, 75=-2.18, P=0.03, λ=0.39). These traits can thus be considered species-level risk factors for poor parrot welfare, providing an evidence-based platform to inspire ways of tackling these problems.
|Title of host publication||Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour Summer Conference 2019|
|Publication status||Published - 26 Aug 2019|
|Event||Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour Summer Conference 2019 - Konstanz, Germany, Konstanz, Germany|
Duration: 26 Aug 2019 → 28 Aug 2019
|Conference||Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour Summer Conference 2019|
|Abbreviated title||ASAB Summer Conference 2019|
|Period||26/08/19 → 28/08/19|