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Facial display and blushing: Means of visual communication in blue-and-yellow macaws (Ara Ararauna)?

Abstract : Mainly recognized for their cognitive performance, the visual communication system and, particularly, the potential function of facial displays in parrots remain thus far unexplored. Here, we provide the first descriptive study of facial display use in captive blue-and-yellow macaws. We observed the feather position (sleeked or ruffled) on the crown, nape and cheek at the group level during the macaws' daily routine and individually while interacting with a familiar animal caretaker. In the latter context, blushing was also assessed on the bare skin of the cheek. Group level observations showed that crown, nape and cheek feathers ruffling was more frequent in activities requiring no locomotion than in activities requiring locomotion. With the animal caretaker, crown ruffling was significantly more frequent when the caretaker was actively engaging with the parrot than during a control phase with no mutual interaction. In addition, a significantly higher proportion of naive observers judged blushing as being present on photographs taken during the mutual interaction phase than during the control phase. We thus showed significant variations in facial displays and bare skin colour based on the birds' social context and activity. Our results broaden the scope for further studies to determine whether parrots' faces provide visual social signals.
Mots-clés : perroquet ara ararauna
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 2:13:59 AM
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Aline Bertin, Arielle Beraud, Léa Lansade, Marie-Claire Blache, Amandine Diot, et al.. Facial display and blushing: Means of visual communication in blue-and-yellow macaws (Ara Ararauna)?. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2018, 13 (8), ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0201762⟩. ⟨hal-02621414⟩

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