Evaluation of boldness assays and associated behavioral measures in a social parrot, monk parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus)

In: Behaviour
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  • 1 Department of Biological Sciences, Derring Hall, 1405 Perry Street, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
  • 2 Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
  • 3 Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
  • 4 USDA Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center, Florida Field Station, Gainesville, FL 32641, USA

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Boldness reflects consistent individual differences in risk-taking behavior across various contexts. However, evaluating this basic assumption has largely been neglected in birds. In a captive monk parakeet population (Myiopsitta monachus; N=33), we undertook an analysis of 7 measures across 3 commonly used boldness assays (i.e., novel object, emergence, and predator-exposure tests). Using principal component analysis, we derived 3 components (PCs). PC-2 loaded strongly with measures from emergence and predator-exposure tests; we interpreted it as the closest approximation of boldness. PC-1 and PC-3 described different aspects of feeding such as foraging activity and rate, respectively. Finally, we assessed the predictive power of each measure that loaded significantly on the boldness axis. We found that no single metric explained even %55 of the variation in PC-2, nor could more than %50 individuals at the extremes of the spectrum be predicted. Our results demonstrate the utility of an inclusive approach in personality research.

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