Foraging as a Means of Behavior Modification

Key Points

  • Feather destructive behavior is commonly encountered in companion parrots.
  • Feather destructive behaviors are complex and rarely “cured” with one treatment modality.
  • Stereotypies are abnormal, repetitive, functionless behaviors that most commonly develop in animals kept in barren environments.
  • Foraging may help to manage feather destructive behavior and other stereotypies in psittacines.
  • Foraging may be encouraged in parrots through the use of foraging toys and “foraging trees”.
  • Feather destructive behaviors are complex and rarely “cured” with one treatment modality.

Foraging is the act of searching for and finding food. Many wild birds spend more than 50% of their day foraging and feeding, particularly in the morning and evening. Because foraging occupies a significant portion of a bird’s daily activity, it likely has social and behavioral importance.

Bird behaviors can be divided into four categories: foraging, socialization, grooming or self-preening, and sleeping or resting. In a captive situation, normal behaviors are likely disrupted including foraging. If the ability to forage is removed, that leaves socializing, grooming, and rest . . .

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To cite this page:

Echols S. Foraging as a means of behavior modification. October 31, 2010. LafeberVet Web site. Available at