“I saw this interesting behaviour in some of the Blue-naped Parrots (Tanygnathus lucionensis). They would grip the bark of the casuarina trees, chew and peel it off. While watching, it was apparent that it was not easy to do (see Post 1-3). I have been trying to obtain a reason for this behaviour and, while reading around the subject, can offer some suggestions (no one is really sure):
“1. A common opinion is that parrots need to keep their beaks in good shape. The wood allows them to clean and sharpen their beaks. This activity is also credited with preventing beak overgrowth.
“2. Another option is they are looking for food and trying to find insects and ‘grubs’ under the wood or bark-boring insects (I did not see any evidence of feeding despite a fairly long observation).
“3. One view is that they strip bark to use as nesting material. However I did not see them keep the bark or collect the material that was dropped on the ground.
“4. Others have suggested they do it out of sheer boredom, but this is a rather weak opinion.
“5. One option I would like to entertain (apart from no. “1” above) is the shortage of nesting sites. There may be a strong desire to nest but not enough holes. Hence this is a ‘futile’ maternal instinct to generate holes.”
Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
26-27th March 2017
Location: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Habitat: Coastal region