Original Paper

Journal of Comparative Physiology B

, Volume 178, Issue 4, pp 487-493

First online:

Annual pattern of fecal corticoid excretion in captive Red-tailed parrots (Amazona brasiliensis)

  • Lucyenne G. PoppAffiliated withCuritiba Zoological Park
  • , Patrícia P. SerafiniAffiliated withSociety for Protection of Wildlife and Environmental Education (SPVS)
  • , Angela L. S. ReghelinAffiliated withDepartment of Physiology, Federal University of Paraná, Sector of Biological Sciences
  • , Katherinne Maria SpercoskiAffiliated withDepartment of Physiology, Federal University of Paraná, Sector of Biological Sciences
  • , James J. RoperAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, Federal University of Paraná
  • , Rosana N. MoraisAffiliated withDepartment of Physiology, Federal University of Paraná, Sector of Biological Sciences Email author 

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Abstract

Annual patterns of fecal corticoid excretion were analyzed in the threatened Red-tailed parrot (Amazona brasiliensis) in captivity. Corticoid concentration over the 15 months of the study (mean ± standard error, 12.6 ± 0.32 ng g−1, n = 585) was lowest around May (the southern Fall), and greatest around September (late winter), just prior to their normal breeding period. Corticoid excretion follows a seasonal pattern best explained by reproductive cycles rather than climate, although climate may be involved in the timing of corticoid excretion. Fecal corticoids also show promise as a tool to measure stress levels. We demonstrate that fecal corticoid measurement is a simple, yet efficient method for monitoring adrenocortical activity in captive, and perhaps wild, parrots. Monitoring adrenocortical activity can inform researchers about imposed stress in captivity, whether pair-bonds are forming in captive birds, and of the timing of breeding both in captivity and in nature.

Keywords

Red-tailed-parrot Fecal corticoids Reproduction Seasonality Conservation