Parrot Behavior at a Peruvian Clay Lick Academic Article uri icon


  • We documented the behavior of 13 parrot species at a geophagy site along the Tambopata River in southeastern Peru. These species use the lick in one or more multi-species aggregations composed predominantly of (1) large parrots and small macaws (81% of lick use), (2) large macaws (5%), or (3) parakeets and small parrots (5%). Monospecific flocks accounted for only 8% of lick use and lone individuals <1% of lick use. The multi-species aggregations sorted by body size and were generally composed of species with similar coloration suggesting that group composition was driven by a mix of competition and predation. Three species regularly used the lick in monospecific groups and these had the largest group sizes away from the lick, suggesting a causal relationship between intraspecific sociality and lick use in monospecific groups. All groups were wary when approaching the lick, probably due to the risk from landslides and predators. We suggest that clay lick use strategies are molded by predation risk and competition acting on a suite of species with varying body size, coloration, and gregariousness. © 2011 by the Wilson Ornithological Society.

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Brightsmith, D. J., & Villalobos, E. M.

citation count

  • 17

publication date

  • September 2011