Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Fred Zaidan

Second Advisor

Dr. Julie Mustard

Third Advisor

Dr. Alejandro Fierro Cabo


Vocal learning is a rare trait in the animal kingdom, defined as the sensorimotor imitation of sounds, and is only found in select groups of birds and mammals. Parrots are a behaviorally complex group of birds, famous for their ability to mimic social companions, but how they develop this ability in the wild has received little attention. The vocal learning period consists of a complex vocal babbling stage, a crucial developmental precursor for imitation of adult vocalizations in humans and songbirds, but has not been described in any of the 360+ parrot species. This project quantifies potential individual variation in vocal babbling of a wild population of Green-rumped Parrotlets (Forpus passerinus) in South America. This project also addresses whether variable sibling presence has an effect on the vocal babbling repertoire. This work exposes a cryptic developmental stage that has never been explored in wild parrots.


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