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Behaviour

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Abstract

Many birds are social animals with a diverse range of communication tools. Unfortunately, the subtleties of avian behaviour are often lost on many owners despite deep affection for their avian pets. This chapter will provide veterinarians with the tools to give much needed guidance in this area. : Finches flying frantically when disturbed; Galah ‘aggression’ towards family members; Bird–owner misunderstanding; Galah reluctant to ‘step up’.

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Figures

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5.1 This owner has a deep regard for her Green-cheeked Conure, and is very happy for any behavioural advice she can get to improve the welfare of her pet. Although ‘cuddling’ can lead to inappropriate sexual behaviours, this owner has a robust training programme that offsets this potential issue. (© Deborah Monks)
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5.3 This Monk Parakeet has successfully stepped up, and is being given a small piece of almond as a reward. These two Monk Parakeets have been asked to sit quietly and calmly together on the owner’s finger (this is a form of stationing). The owner is rewarding each of them, in turn, for continuing to sit appropriately. Please note that this level of physical proximity is not always desirable, and may precipitate biting and other traumas in certain birds. (© Deborah Monks)
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5.4 A Monk Parakeet starting to learn how to give a ‘wave’. The owner has an approximation plan, allowing the bird to gradually move into the new behaviour. (© Deborah Monks)
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5.6 Rainbow Lorikeets are commonly surrendered due to biting problems. In the wild, they are a pugnacious species, and this can be problematic in the human environment; these birds often express their displeasure with a situation. This bird is watching carefully, but is not displaying overt aggressive signs. This Rainbow Lorikeet now has constricted pupils and tight feathering across the head, and should be approached with caution, as a bite may ensue. This young Monk Parakeet is very comfortable training with its owner (in this case, learning to ‘ladder’). The head and facial feathers are relaxed. This Rainbow Lorikeet is playing with a soft toy. His posture is excited, and he is rubbing his head on it, as well as lifting his feet over it. This sort of play is quite sexual in nature, and this bird is quite likely to react negatively to humans trying to touch or remove this object. This Moustached Parakeet, with tight feathering and constricted pupils, is clearly not interested in interacting at this moment. (© Deborah Monks)
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5.7 This Red-tailed Black Cockatoo is being kept positively occupied with a foraging toy. (© Deborah Monks)
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5.9 Examples of foraging toys available for parrots. (© Deborah Monks)
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Image of (Courtesy of Emma McMillan)
(Courtesy of Emma McMillan) (Courtesy of Emma McMillan)

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