I've said it before and I'll say it again and again, there is nothing like seeing parrots and parakeets live and function in the wild--especially if you have ever been crazy enough to share your life with one in your home. Their bright colors, incredible brain and ability to mimic often overcomes our good sense to not have one in your home because of their destructive tendencies and incredibly loud, screechy calls. But seeing that all come together as a means to find food and shelter in their environment is such a beautiful thing, especially when we see recognizable human behaviors.
So it was quite the treat when our guide got us on a flock of Cuban parakeets in the general neighborhood of our hotel. It was getting close to noon and the light wasn't great. Our group struggled to get the birds in the dappled canopy. I gave up on getting a "magic shot" and thought I'd just find a bird or two and get some bird behavior shots and video...and boy howdy did I. The above pair started by sitting side by side and preening their own feathers. Then as pairs frequently do, they started allopreening or grooming each other's feathers. This can be a way to woo a new partner and once your partnership is solidified, it's a way to reinforce the pair bond...then things got weird. The birds soon went from, "Here, let me nibble that hard to reach part of your face..." to "let's get busy."
Then one bird flipped around on the perch (I refer to that one as Bird A) and started preening the vent and cloaca area of Bird B. The other bird followed suit. This went on for several minutes. Having the brain of a 15 year old, I was delighted by this turn of events. They kept macking on those areas for so long, this was no longer about, "Let me just clean up the feathers in this area for you" but more like, "Wow, this feels great, don't stop, for the love of all things holy, YES!"
There's something about psittacines (parrot order) that really appears to have a thing for sexual pleasure, beyond just the cloacal kiss for mating you see in most wild birds. When our cockatiel was alive, masturbation was an important daily ritual...and he would take his own sweet time about rubbing his cloaca on his chosen item all while huffing and puffing and squeaking. I especially found it amusing when his favorite area was next to a mirror and he clearly watched himself at the same time. Was it another bird in his mind, or was he watching himself? Who knows, but he had a great time.
After several minutes of 69ing each other, Bird B had enough and tried to go back to preening other areas of Bird A. However, Bird A was having none of it and kept thrusting it's cloaca in Bird B's face.
And they went back to it for another five minutes and then Bird B clearly had enough and flew off to another perch to forage in the trees.
Birds, man. Always keeping things in the field interesting. Here's some video of the allopreening...and beyond.