Mrs. Harvey’s Parrot and Some Problems of Socioendocrine Response

  • Carl J. Erickson


Among females of many bird species, increased ovarian activity, ovulation, and egg-laying occur only in the presence of critical conditions in the external environment. Often these responses follow a period of complex social interaction between the female and her mate. In some instances females lay eggs in response to their human keepers. Because egg-laying is the culmination of major changes in neuroendocrine activity, it is of considerable interest to determine the mechanisms whereby these neuroendocrine responses can be influenced by the social world. Insofar as this activity can be set in motion by biologically inappropriate stimuli, it is important to understand how such a metabolically expensive response can misfire. I shall support the contention of Cohen and Cheng that ovarian activity and ovulation are directly stimulated by the overt courtship behavior of the female herself. If this assumption is accepted, several puzzling aspects of avian behavior can be explained.


Courtship Behavior Ovarian Response Ovarian Activity Gonadotropin Secretion Neuroendocrine Response 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl J. Erickson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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