Re: Birds' eyes

To: James Davis <>
Subject: Re: Birds' eyes
From: Mike Owen <>
Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1998 23:14:00 +1000
James Davis wrote:
> Shane: Has anyone identified any function for "hippus"?  Why only parrots?
> Cheers, Jim

As Shane has noted, many parrots can show "hippus" however it
seems rare in Neophemas and Rosellas, and I have never seen it in
cockatiels.  Princess Parrots are the best of the Australian
parrots for their ability to "pin" (as aviculturalists will often
call it) their eyes, even better than the Rainbow Lorikeet.  The
other Polytelis species are also good at pinning and the King
Parrot is very good.  However the best are undoubtedly the
Asiatic Psittacula species, especially Ringnecks and

It is dominately an ability of cock birds in Australian parrots. 
Most females do not do it, or are very poor exponents. In the
Asiatic species hens as well as cocks can be very proficient
exponents of "hippus".

In the Polytelis it is almost exclusively a courtship activity,
you rarely see it when the cock is not displaying to a hen.  King
Parrots and Rainbow Lorikeets do it both when they are courting
and when they are excited by something, such as a tasty food
titbit coming their way.  

With Psittacula species it can occur in a variety of situations,
including courtship, as a warning to other birds (or humans) not
to get too close, and when excited. 


Mike Owen

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU