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PLoS One. 2013 Dec 6;8(12):e82670. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082670. eCollection 2013.

Behavioural lateralization in Budgerigars varies with the task and the individual.

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  • 1Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia.


Handedness/footedness and side biases are a well-known phenomenon in many animals, including humans. However, these so-called biases have mostly been studied at the population level--individual biases have received less attention, especially with regard to consistency over different tasks. Here we investigate behavioral lateralization in 12 male Budgerigars, Melopsittacus undulatus, a social parrot inhabiting the Australian bushlands. We performed 5 types of experiments to investigate lateralization, in tasks that involved climbing onto a perch, or landing on perches arranged in various configurations. The birds displayed highly significant, individually varying biases. The bias displayed by any particular individual varied with the task, in strength as well as polarity. Analysis of the data revealed that the preferred foot used for climbing did not coincide with the foot that was used while landing. Thus, landing choices are probably not determined by foot bias. Furthermore, these individual preferences were overridden completely when a bird had to perform a task simultaneously with another bird.

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