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Category: Other Animals

Grey Parrot Anatomy Project
July 1, 2013 (published)

Primary Investigator:
Brian SpeerView VINner Profile
Medical Center for Birds

Scott EcholsView VINner Profile
Researchers at the University of Utah Departments of Bioengineering, Biology and Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute

Study Start Date: 07/01/2013
Study End Date: 12/30/2020

No reliable anatomic reference exists for Grey Parrots. Using micro-CT technology, the investigators hope to create a series of high-resolution images which will then be averaged to create the “average” Grey Parrot. These will be rendered into a 3D digital atlas.

The goals of this project are to:

  1. Define, in detail, the anatomy of the grey parrot. Use (or create) universally recognized anatomy nomenclature.
  2. Produce a physical book reference of the anatomy of the grey parrot that is clinically useful and physically beautiful.
  3. Produce digital (online, electronic, DVD or other) and user friendly anatomy reference of the grey parrot.

Study Design:
There are 2 aspects requiring contribution from clinicians:

  1. Deceased grey parrots (aka ‘Congo African Grey’, Psittacus erithacus erithacus). These birds can be frozen, cannot be altered (no necropsied or significantly deformed birds, but those with diseases are acceptable) and owners must grant permission, in writing (see below for attachment), to the use the bird with the understanding that it’s remains will not be returned. Birds will primarily be used for CT and MRI and/or detailed dissection.
  2. Live birds that are to be euthanized—as deemed necessary by the attending clinician, with written permission from the owner, in an AVMA acceptable manner and specifically not for the purposes of this project. No grey parrots are to be euthanized specifically for this project. However if a grey parrot is to be euthanized for other reasons, we would like the clinician to perform an arteriovenogram under anesthesia that would result in the bird’s humane death. Realizing that these can be time sensitive procedures, we can send you or otherwise describe the protocol (using common hospital items) ASAP once notified. Again, the owners would not receive their bird’s remains once they agree to the procedure.

Sample Size:
10 grey parrots

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Any grey parrot being euthanized for a client.
  • Deceased grey parrots can be frozen or fresh, but cannot be necropsied or altered.
  • Owner permission required.
  • Live grey parrots that are to be euthanized for medical reasons.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Other parrots or birds.
  • Grey parrots that have been necropsied or damaged.

Grey Parrot cadavers. Please contact the investigators for details regarding submission of specimens.

Files for Download:
Sample release form PDF file
Barium Angiogram form PDF file


Study Websites:
Grey Parrot Anatomy Project
Radiograph Based Density Project

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Contact Info and Sample Shipping Info:
Dr Scott Echols (Contact only, DO NOT ship to this address)
6687 S 1530 E
Salt Lake City, UT, 84121
Phone: 512-809-8385

Dr. Edward Hsu (Shipping only)
James LeVoy Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building (SMBB)
36 S. Wasatch Drive, Rm. 3100
Salt Lake City, UT, 84112
Phone: 801-581-8528

PI Contact Info:
Brian Speer
Medical Center for Birds
3805 Main Street
Oakley, CA, 94561
Phone: 925-625-1878

Full Disclosure information:

  • The study is not yet funded.
  • The investigator does not have a conflict of interest.
  • The authors will acknowledge VIN if the study is published.


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