Unrewarded Object Combinations in Captive Parrots

In primates, complex object combinations during play are often regarded as precursors of functional behavior. Here we investigate combinatory behaviors during unrewarded object manipulation in seven parrot species, including kea, African grey parrots and Goffin cockatoos, three species previously used as model species for technical problem solving. We further examine a habitually tool using species, […]

Mixed support for state maintaining risky personality traits in yellow-bellied marmots

In a variety of taxa, individuals behave in consistently different ways. However, there are relatively few studies that empirically test the potential mechanisms underlying the causes and maintenance of these personality differences. Several hypotheses for the causes and maintenance of risky personality traits have been suggested but all have received mixed support. Both the pace-of-life […]

A Genetic Analysis of Avian Personality Traits: Correlated, Response to Artificial Selection

Individuals in a range of species consistently differ in their behavior towards mild challenges, over age and time. Differences have been found for several personality traits in a range of species. In great tits these traits have a genetic basis and are phenotypically correlated. Estimates of genetic correlations are, however, fundamental to understanding the evolution […]

Environmental enrichment affects the fear and exploratory responses to novelty of young Amazon parrots

The development of techniques to reduce fear responses of captive animals is important because fear is generally considered an undesirable emotional state that is related to increased risk of injury and decreased biological functioning. We tested the effects of environmental enrichments designed to increase the physical complexity of the cage and to provide opportunities for […]

Gorilla behavior in response to systematic alternation between zoo enclosures

To determine the effects of relative novelty on captive gorilla behavior, the regular alternation of two groups between complex naturalistic enclosures was studied at Zoo Atlanta. A continuous behavioral change sampling method was used to obtain information on behavior, and instantaneous scans at 10-min intervals provided information on the location of all gorillas in the […]

Contrafreeloading in grizzly bears: implications for captive foraging enrichment

Although traditional feeding regimens for captive animals were focused on meeting physiological needs to assure good health, more recently emphasis has also been placed on non-nutritive aspects of feeding. The provision of foraging materials to diversify feeding behavior is a common practice in zoos but selective consumption of foraging enrichment items over more balanced “chow” […]

Pairs of zebra finches with similar ‘personalities’ make better parents

Although behavioural plasticity should be an advantage in a varying world, there is increasing evidence for widespread stable individual differences in the behaviour of animals: that is, [`]personality’. Here we provide evidence suggesting that sexual selection is an important factor in the evolution of personality in species with biparental care. We carried out a cross-fostering […]

Temperament, risk assessment and habituation to novelty in eastern chipmunks, Tamias striatus

An increasing number of studies are focusing on the role of animal temperament in the ecology of wild populations. One important step in these studies is to estimate the repeatability of temperament traits, by replicating measures of an animal’s behavioural or physiological reactions to a novel or stressful situation. When studies are performed in the […]

Successive negative contrast in a bird: starlings’ behaviour after unpredictable negative changes in food quality

In a successive negative contrast (SNC) procedure, subjects used to a familiar contingency are unexpectedly shifted to a less favourable one. Typically, mammals in the new condition show lower anticipatory and consummatory responses than controls that only experience the low contingency, but similar experiments in birds have failed to show SNC. We investigated SNC in […]

Behavioural syndromes in Steller’s jays: the role of time frames in the assessment of behavioural traits

Behavioural syndromes describe consistent and correlated individual differences in behavioural traits. Quantifying individual differences often requires researchers to capture and hold animals in captivity while short-term behavioural assays are recorded. We compared behavioural responses of adult, territorial Steller’s jays in short- and long-term field assessments of behavioural traits in two ecological contexts, risk taking and […]