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Why Do Parrots Waste their food?

Spreads for web Parrots 278 4

Parrots throw perfectly good food onto the floor because that’s what parrots do – according to a new study
By Devorah Bennu, PhD aka “GrrlScientist”. Evolutionary & behavioural ecologist, ornithologist & science writer

If you live with parrots, like me, then you spend a significant amount of money and time seeking out and buying a variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds for your feathered friends. Unfortunately, you also spend a lot of time cleaning up after they’ve thrown this bounty onto the floor and walls. Why are parrots such slobs?

The authors of a recent study wondered the same thing after observing wild parrots wasting fruits, flowers and seeds that appeared to be perfectly delicious. They also noticed that wild parrots sometimes would eat a bite or two before dropping their tasty morsels. Wasting edible food just doesn’t make sense, so why do parrots squander this important resource?

To understand why parrots are so wasteful, conservation biologist and ecologist, Esther Sebastián-González, a postdoctoral fellow at Miguel Hernández University in Spain, and an international team of collaborators, identified a number of hypotheses that may explain parrots’ food wasting behaviours. These hypotheses broadly fall into two categories.

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