Budgie in the Mirror: An Exploratory Analysis of Social Behaviors and Mirror Use in the Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus)

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Abstract: Despite their prevalent use amongst avian species, particularly in Budgerigars, the relationship between mirror use and social behaviors is in need of elucidation. After establishing social behavior measures (e.g., agonistic and pair-bond data) in a colony of Budgerigars, mirrors were introduced and subsequent use was documented. Results illustrated a significant relationship between mirror use and pair-bonds, such that mirror use increased with increasing pair-bond strength. The authors posit that individual differences in gregariousness may best account for the obtained results, with certain birds seeking more social stimulation than others, whether it be from a pair-bond or from its own reflected mirror image. Additionally, the trends observed within agonistic behaviors were consistent with previous avian literature such that those who initiated more encounters also won more encounters and that there was a preference to be closer to birds that win more encounters. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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