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Human-altered habitat spurs nesting innovations in neotropical parrots

Spreads for web Parrots 278 4

By David Waugh Correspondent, Loro Parque Fundación

A well-used saying is “that necessity is the mother of invention”, but how might this apply to parrots? Probably in several ways, but one that has been recently studied and published relates to the choice of nesting sites in the wild. A consortium of researchers from the Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales CSIC, Doñana Biological Station CSIC, Universidad Europea de Madrid and Endangered Conservation Consultancy, all in Spain, the German Centre of Integrative Biodiversity, Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Germany and the Universidad Nacional del Sur, Argentina have been researching innovations in nest-site choice shown by parrots in the New World. The Loro Parque Fundación contributed financial support to their research, which has revealed some novel alternatives to traditional nest-sites.

Parrots constitute one of the most threatened bird orders mainly due to habitat loss and illegal poaching. Given that most parrots are obligated cavity nesters, usually in trees or less so in crevices on rock-faces, the destruction of forests and natural cliffs can pose a significant threat. The resulting scarcity of habitual nest-sites can result in the parrots choosing unusual sites in which to nest.

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