Species group: Other Parrots
Other common names: Red-browed Fig Parrot (C. d. macleayana)
Scientific name: Cyclopsitta diophthalma
The Double-eyed Fig Parrot is probably the most common Fig Parrot in aviculture, but that isn't to say that this colorful little bird is especially well-known to most fanciers. They are probably best reserved to the experts, because their highly specialized diet makes them a challenge. As the name suggests, they feed heavily on Ficus figs, although these fruits can be supplemented with the same fruits and nectar syrup you would offer a Lorikeet. Be aware that they demand more vitamin K than the other parrots-- even more than the Conures and Mini-Macaws. Anyone considering any Fig Parrot should seek the latest information about what supplements to use from your breeder and/or advanced avian veterinarian.
The Double-eye is a diverse species including several subspecies that range over areas of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and even Australia. The critically endangered Coxen's Fig Parrot, formerly a subspecies of the Double-eye, has now been split off as a separate species that should only be reserved to serious experts working to save the species. Unlike the Double-eye, there appears to be no obvious sexual dimorphism in the adults, and the facial pattern is not as bright.
These little green gems stand out because of the sweep of scarlet beneath the eye and across the forecrown of the adult male. There is also a varying amount of blue, green, or both around the eye. Females and juveniles are less flashy. Indeed, the adult females of two subspecies have no red on the face at all.
42-55 grams (1.5 - 1.9 oz.)
15 centimeters (6 in.)
Behavior / temperament:
Considering their size, Fig Parrots can be surprisingly chewy and aggressive. The Fig Parrot Husbandry Manual compiled by Liz Romer noted that they will harass other parrots, and pairs could gang up and harm other birds in their enclosure. Plan on providing a dedicated aviary, just as you would for most breeding pairs of larger parrots.
Despite their small size, housing the Double-eyed Fig Parrot can represent a genuine challenge. They tend to have loose, squirtable feces that are sticky, sweet, and quickly develop an odor, so it's important to set up a cage that's easy to clean. Some people advocate clear acrylic on the sides and back of the cage. An added twist is that Fig Parrots set up in large planted aviaries sometimes have a bad habit of flying very fast at the wires and hurting or killing themselves. Evidently, if allowed to build up sufficient speed, they don't realize in time that they're flying into a wall. If you want to display your pair in a large walk-in aviary, makes sure it is well-planted with trees and shrubs to prevent them from bulleting along across open space.
They do enjoy chewing, and it can be a good idea to provide some safe browse or chewable toys to keep those beaks busy. They love bathing, and you can expect to need to change the water frequently.
The Fig Parrot Husbandry Manual suggests several diets that zoos and aviaries have used with success, but keep in the loop and network wth active breeders to see what they currently recommend-- especially in regard to vitamin K and calcium supplementation. You'll need a dependable source of whole figs. These birds also demand items such as chopped fresh fruit salad, some live insects or grubs, and some soaked or sprouted seeds like millet and sunflower.
Written by Elaine Radford