What are some of the important body areas to pay attention to when observing parrots, and what can parrots can do with their bodies that might give us useful information? Learning what to look at and for is the first step in being able to independently observe- and interpret parrot body language. Part 1 is meant to be an introduction to the many things parrots do with their bodies, in what situations, and the ways in which body language might differ between- and within species. The goal is to make this as exhaustive as possible, but it is in no way a complete ethogram of parrot body language or behavior. This is not meant as a substitute for watching the behavior of birds in real life, but rather as a complimentary resource to help you prepare for- and make sense of your real life observations and honing your observational skills.
In the following modules of part 1, we'll take a closer look at different body parts and what we can observe parrots doing with them in certain situations. We'll also look at some common types of behavior that are useful to recognize, like bathing, preening, some behaviors related to breeding and parental care, as well as some species typical behaviors that we usually only see in certain parrot species. An important step when getting started is familiarizing yourself with what parrots look like; their body plan and anatomy, and how they move. Even though parrots are closely related to each other and share a lot of similarities, parrots come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and are adapted to living in different environments. All these factors affect how they move and use their bodies. This fact is important to keep in mind when you navigate this resource, and it is something we will discuss more in a later section. If you don't already feel comfortable with the parrot body plan, start off by familiarizing yourself with what the different body parts on a parrot is called below. I have intentionally avoided using terms that require extensive previous knowledge about bird anatomy and morphology, but I will sometimes be referring to body parts like the "nape" or "wrist", so knowing what and where those are located will make learning more effective and precise. If you already feel comfortable with this, you can skip directly to section 1.1.
1. WHAT TO LOOK FOR