Meghan Gresham

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Parrots are popular pets due to their complex social behavior, intelligence, and long lifespan. Many captive parrots develop abnormal behaviors, such as feather plucking, which may result in illness and surrender. This study investigates the link between personality traits, abnormal behavior, and subjective well-being (SWB) in four genera of parrots commonly kept as pets: Amazons (Amazona), African Greys (Psittacus), Cockatoos (Cacatua), and Macaws (Ara). Two volunteers, well acquainted with each parrot, collected data using an online survey. Principal component analysis of multiple personality traits, used in human Big-Five Factor research, revealed three parrot personality dimensions: Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Assertiveness. Many significant correlations were found. For example, Extraversion was positively correlated with SWB and Neuroticism was related to increased risk of Biting, Screaming, and Stereotypy. The results of this study may help in managing captive populations by providing keepers with measurements of nonhuman animal psychological health and well-being.

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