• Francine G. Buckley

    1. Section of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
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    • 2

      Department of Biology, Old Dominion College, Norfolk, Virginia 23508.


The maintenance activities of Loriculus galgulus and L. vernalis are described and discussed, and compared with the behaviour of the parrots of the genus Agapornis. Maintenance activities reveal some adaptations to the genus-typical habit of resting and sleeping upside-down. A peculiar defaecation posture ensures that the plumage of hanging birds is not soiled.

L. galgulus holds food either in the foot or in the bill, but L. vernalis seems not to use the foot in feeding:there is much regurgitation and remastication of food.

Scratching is indirect, as in the Agapornis species, though the foot is brought directly to the bill to be preened. Loriculus is more ready to bathe in standing water than is Agapornis, actually entering the water, and not merely splashing from the edge. There is some evidence that L. galgulus rain-bathes hanging upside down, as does A. cana.

Agonistic behaviour is highly ritualized in Loriculus:some actions are identical with those of the more primitive species of Agapornis. Threat displays are described: the so-called Super Threat Display combines all agonistic actions in one. There are three appeasement displays.

Group upside-down pseudo-sleeping as a response to the appearance of potential predators is frequent in both species: it is not certain if this is a displacement reaction or a normal escape reaction to the safety of an inaccessible refuge.

Little is known about reproductive behaviour in captivity and even less about behaviour in the wild. Pair formation appears to occur late in the period of attaining maturity, and to be initiated and maintained by courtship feeding: homosexual pairing is not unusual n flocks of captive birds. Of the courtship displays, one-Strutting-seems to be common to several Loriculus species.

Cutting of nest material is an activity of both male and female Loriculus. A maturing or learning process is seen in the cutting of little “bits” by inexperienced and immature birds, and by the cutting of straight or arcuate strips by those more experienced. In Loriculus galgulus, females were seen to tuck strips of nesting material in the throat and breast feathers, though they have been reported to tuck material into the rump feathers also: L. oernalis females tucked arcuate strips among the rump feathers only. Both male and female L. galgulus and L. vernalis investi- gated nest boxes, but none actually nested.

This study in general reinforces the ideas about the relationship of the genera Loriculus and Agapornis but more data on other Loriculus species are needed. At this stage of investigation it appears that both L. galgulus and L. oernalis are behaviourally closest to the more primitive species of Agapornis, namely, cana, tarantu and pullaria.