By Melissa L. Kauffman
Posted: January 16, 2012, 6:00 p.m. PST
Recent research proves how budgerigars can do something that only humans and a few other primates can do: trigger yawning around a group.
And yes, this is a "wow" moment. According to researcher Andrew Gallup at Binghamton University in New York, this is the first good evidence of contagious yawning in a non-primate.The unpublished work in this study said that the budgies' yawns were more contagious especially after a loud noise. This suggests that the yawning might be helpful in coordinating group alertness after a threat.
Budgerigars, or budgie for short, are an Australian parakeet (Melopsittacus undulatus). Parrots are flock animals and thus considered social creatures, so it is not surprising to find out that they excel at group activities, even if the activity is yawning. Gallup observed a group of 21 budgies for more than 15 days for this study. To read more, go to New Scientist.
Note: Americans sometimes call budgies by the general term "parakeet."