Date of Award

Spring 4-14-2015

Document Type

Distinction Paper

Degree Name

Zoo and Conservation Science-BA


Biology & Earth Science


Anna Young, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Anna Young, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Halard Lescinsky, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Jim Bowling


Same Sex, Pair Bonds, Social Monogamy, Animal Homosexuality, Budgerigars

Subject Categories

Animal Studies | Behavior and Ethology | Zoology


Same sex pair bonding can be found throughout various animal species. These relationships can be common in monogamous species, especially when there is a lack of members of the opposite sex. Budgerigars, Melopsittacus undulatus, are a socially monogamous species, which create strong pair bonds but are also known to engage in extra pair copulations. When looking at an all-male flock of budgerigars, the question arises, are these bonds easily broken or disrupted by a third party individual. After determining seven pair bonds in a flock of 32 males, these pairs were removed from an aviary and placed in separate lab cages where their social structure was manipulated using a third party male or female. Pairs were also categorized as strong, weak and control. Behaviors of affiliation and aggression were recorded before, during and after a third party individual was added and removed. It was found that there were no significant differences in the behaviors performed between strong pairs when the third party individual was present and after its removal. There were found to be significant differences in the behaviors between pairs during the presence and after the removal of the third party individual for weak and non-bonded pairs. It was concluded then that strong pairs were not disrupted by third party individuals regardless of the third party’s sex.