Title: Proximate Analysis of Beak Contact in Parakeets
Presenter: LaTosha Walker
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Tate Holbrook
Abstract: Parakeets (Melopsittacus undulatus) are social animals that vary behaviorally. After observing grooming and beak contact in parakeets, the function of beak contact was speculated. It was hypothesized that beak contact functioned as an affiliative behavior to initiate allogrooming. It was also hypothesized that there was less variation in sex, but more opposite-sex pairings conducted beak contact than same-sex pairings. To determine the function of the beak contact behavior in parakeets; three enclosures at PetSmart and YouTube videos were observed for instances of beak contact and allogrooming, the differences between sex initiating beak contact, and the sexual pairings that participate in beak contact for two days a week. After four weeks, the sex data were analyzed using a two-sample t-test on SPSS, which determined that beak contact was not limited by sex. The goodness of fit test was used to determine if same-sex pairings differed from opposite-sex pairings. The results indicated that females were critical for beak contact, which was more likely to occur in female-female pairings than male-female pairings. The total number of occurrences for beak contact, allogrooming, and beak contact and allogrooming indicated that beak contact was not used to initiate allogrooming in parakeets. Therefore, beak contact was not associated with allogrooming or gender. However, beak contact was found to occur more frequently when female parakeets were in the enclosure. Future research should focus on why beak contact occurred more in female-female pairings than male-female pairings, the effect of age on beak contact, and the ultimate analysis of beak contact.