Breeding biology of the Monk Parakeet

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The Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) is unique among parrots because it constructs stick nests rather than nesting in holes. This study provides a detailed description of the species' breeding biology and provides evidence that this species might breed cooperatively. Although many parakeet pairs were observed roosting in solitary nests, breeding occurred only in nests within colonies or chambers within compound nests housing other parakeets. The male was responsible for all or most of the nest construction and maintenance. He fed the female during the incubation and early nestling periods, but later in the nestling period both the male and female fed the nestlings. Most breeding attempts involved a male-female pair, but three separate breeding attempts were made by trios (two trios included a female and two males, and the third trio was composed of a male and two females). In the trios, one of the auxiliary bird contributed less to the breeding effort than the primary male and female. The observations of trios support the idea that Monk Parakeets are similar to cooperative breeders, but the lack of cooperation in nest building indicates that colonial nesting may be a result of other benefits of group living, such as improved predator detection.

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Wilson Bulletin

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