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Two Hyacinth Macaws allopreening


California Condors allopreening

(AL-low-preen-ing).[1] Mutual preening between two birds, the main purpose of which is to reduce the instinctive aggression when birds are in close contact. In the breeding season, allopreening helps to strengthen the pair bond between the male and female. This behaviour is especially common in parrots (Psittaciformes) and the estrildid finches (Estrildidae)[2]; or when a bird preens the feathers of another, usually its mate, also called "mutual preening".[3]

Birds observed allopreening[]

  • Spot-breasted Heleia, Heleia muelleri: flock members perform allopreening.[4]
  • Crested Caracara and Southern Caracara, and Black Vultures: Allopreening between different bird species has rarely been reported in nature (Harrison 1969)[5] but there are at least two published records regarding American Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) preening both the Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway) and the Southern Caracara (C. plancus), in Texas, USA (David & Jesperson 1984)[6] and in Mato Grosso, Brazil (Souto et al. 2009) respectively.[7]


  1. ^ Terres, John K. (1980). The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ISBN 0394466519. 
  2. ^ Frances, Peter; et al. (2007). Bird: The Definitive Visual Guide. Dorling Kindersley Inc. ISBN 1564582957. 
  3. ^ Clark, William S.; Brian K. Wheeler (2011). Hawks of North America, 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 12. ISBN 0395670675.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help);
  4. ^ van Balen, B. (2008). Spot-breasted White-eye (Heleia muelleri). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.) (2014). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 13 April 2015).
  5. ^ Harrison, C.J.O. (1969). Further records of allopreening. Avicultural Magazine 75: 97–99.
  6. ^ David, N.G. & Jasperson, B.D. (1984). Interspecific allopreening between crested caracara and black vultures. Condor 86(2): 214–215.
  7. ^ Souto, H.N., Franchin, A.G. & Júnior, O.M. (2009). New record of allopreening between Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) and Crested Caracara (Caracara plancus). Sociobiology 53(1): 1–5.

Anatomy of an amiotic egg This article is part of Project Glossary, an All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each term related to animals.

Charadrius vociferus tx1 cropped This article is part of Project Bird Behaviour, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each behavioural term related to birds.