Effect of oral diazepam on feeding behavior and activity of Hawai'i 'amakihi (Hemignathus virens)

Lori Ann Gaskins, J. Gregory Massey, Michael H Ziccardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Feeding behavior and activity during captivity were studied in wild-caught Hawai'i 'amakihi, Hemignathus virens, to evaluate diazepam's hyperphagic and anxiolytic effects. Birds were captured in mist nets, given either oral diazepam (1 mg/kg) or an equivalent volume per weight of lactated Ringer's solution orally, and held in captivity for 6 h. Thirteen-minute focal animal samples were videotaped at the beginning of each hour. Feeding behaviors, grooming and picking events, changes in position, and body weights were recorded. Mean duration of feeding, percentage of time spent feeding, and number of feeding events were significantly higher for treatment birds than for controls, and significantly increased over time. Feeding duration was significantly correlated to weight change. Weight change was not significantly different between groups, but on average treatment birds lost less weight than control birds. No significant differences in grooming behaviors were found between the groups, but there was a session effect of increased grooming over time in both groups. Also, a significant session effect in movement events was apparent, with control birds becoming less active and treatment birds becoming more active over time. Results indicate diazepam increased feeding behaviors and movement in this passerine species during a short period of captivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-394
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Activity
  • Avian
  • Behavior
  • Diazepam
  • Feeding
  • Passerine
  • Translocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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