Macaws turn red and cause a big revolution

Macaws turn red and cause a big revolution

In an experiment in France, they noticed that the studied macaws blushed at certain times. Here the two states / the web


What if it turns out that the macaws blush when people in emotional situations are intense?

Researchers are still far from aware of the exact mechanism, but a French team said they had rigorously observed the phenomenon in five ara & # 39; s of the Beauval Zoo in France for the first time, and published their results in the US scientific journal PLOS One on Wednesday.

Part of the cheeks of the blue and yellow macaw (Ara ararauna) is naked, without feathers. It is this white skin that, according to the researchers, blushed during interactions with caregivers at times that they considered "positive".

"We noticed that the macaws blushed in the interactions they had with their caretakers"

Beauval Zoo in France

"Birds do not have muscles in their faces," says Aline Bertin, a researcher at the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA), who led the experiment. "They have never been studied because of their facial expressions."

The owners of the macaws had noticed these blushes, as well as some other wild birds. His cheeks are irrigated from blood vessels, just like people. But they still had to document the phenomenon.


The experiment consisted of filming and photographing the birds in a Beauval aviary during organized interactions with the caretakers who usually take care of them.

Very often at the end of these interactions, the skin of the birds around the eyes and in the vicinity of the peak began to blush, which attracted the attention of the observers.

The experiment is limited by the small monster, only from five birds, and does not allow conclusions to be formally drawn about the reason for the blush. Although it was a big trigger for the researchers to promote the problem and explain this situation.


"We do not know if birds can feel positive emotions," said Aline Bertin. But this work forms the basis for future experiments, creating a method that "will better understand the sensitivity of birds".

Knowledge is still very limited with regard to the "sensitivity" of the brains of the birds, while they are very advanced in their intelligence, similar to that of mammals. Many birds know how to use tools and solve problems.

"Until now, these birds had not been studied for their facial expressions"

Aline Bertin

In terms of their emotions and stress, scientists have so far mainly described sexual courtship rituals or conflict situations, in which the feathers, which are raised or softened, mainly participate.

But in their positive emotions, research is weak, says Aline Bertin.

"You can not imagine that the bird can have an emotional world that is as complex as a primate, a dog or a cat," says the researcher. He adds: "It is not surprising to see parrots in cages in pet stores when we do not see primates, there is a mismatch." (AFP)

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