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Eclectus Parrot

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Is the Eclectus Parrot right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Grand Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus roratus); Vosmaeri Eclectus Parrot (E. r. vosmaeri); Red-sided Eclectus Parrot (E. r. polychloros); Solomon Island Eclectus (E. r. solomonensis)

Scientific name: Eclectus roratus

The basics:
It's easy to tell the boys from the girls with the unusual Eclectus Parrot. The females are flashy red birds, while the males are the quieter shades of green. The first collectors actually believed that they had discovered two different species. Today, the Eclectus Parrot has become a sought-after pet not just because of its beauty, but because of its relatively social yet independent personality and its ability to talk or sometimes even to sing.

There are four subspecies commonly found in aviculture, so if you plan to breed them, it's important for you to learn what subspecies you hold before you set up pairs. If you have any doubt, please consult with an expert breeder before you pair up birds. In this way, the pure subspecies can be maintained for future generations to enjoy.

The Eclectus Parrot is a wide-ranging species found throughout the islands of Indonesia, through New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and even a small region on the north Queensland area of Australia. A female who succeeds in finding a secure nesthole will be courted and fed by several males, who will forage far and wide to provide for her – a most unusual social arrangements for a parrot species.

Appearance:
Since there are several subspecies in aviculture, breeders have a special responsibility to properly identify their Eclectus Parrots before they pair them. Here are some tips to get you started.

The Grand Eclectus (E. r. roratus)
The orange-eyed male is green with blue primary wing feathers, red under the wings that extends down the side of the body, and a tail tipped in a buff yellow color. The upper mandible of the beak is yellow-orange and the lower mandible is black. The mostly-red female features a blended purple-blue colored band around the breast and abdomen that extends under the wings and around the neck The underside coverts of her tail are red with yellow-orange tips. She has a completely black beak and no bare eye ring around her yellow eyes.

Vosmaeri Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus vosmaeri)
The "Vos" is a bit larger than the Grand. The male has more yellow tinted coloring on the head and neck. His outer tail feathers are blue with green edges. The female has completely yellow undertail coverts and a thicker yellow tail band.

Red-sided Eclectus Parrot (E.r. polychloros)
The male Red-sided has a darker green head and neck than the Grand, as well as a green tail edged with a light yellow color. His primary feathers are blue and he has red under the wing that extends down the sides of his body.The female Red-sided instantly jumps out from the Grand because of her blue eye ring. Her tail is completely red with orange edges. The blue band around her breast, abdomen, and neck seems to be well-defined with an abrupt change of color, instead of nicely blended as it is with the Grand.

Solomon Island Eclectus (Eclectus roratus solomonensis)
This subspecies is a bit like a smaller Red-sided, except that the male seems to have. more yellowish – green feathers on the head and neck as well as a brighter blue in the primary wing feathers. The female seems to have an overall brighter red and blue coloring.

Weight:
450 - 600 grams (16 - 21 oz.)

Average size:
35 centimeters (14 in.)

Lifetime:
50+ years

Behavior / temperament:
The Eclectus Parrot has been described as intuitive and gentle, although some of the females have gained a reputation for being bossy. They need to be handled and properly trained while young, and their reputation has soared as more handfed youngsters have entered the pet market. Although they can entertain themselves to a certain extent, they do like participating in family activities and need regular interaction with their human flock mates. Many Eclectus owners have been fooled by the sounds of doorbells, running water, and people talking mimicked by their pet Eclectus. Some of these birds have truly gifted voices, so it is definitely worthwhile to start working with them as early as possible.

Housing:
An ideal minimum sized cage for a single Eclectus Parrot would be 36”w x 24”d x 36”h with no more than ¾” bar spacing. Having a softer beak they are not able to destroy wood toys as easily as other parrots so you may offer softer bird safe woods and even cardboard to let them exercise their chewing muscles. Every pet Eclectus Parrot should have a playgym where the bird can exercise, explore, and forage away from the cage. Some birds can be lazy, so you need to encourage them to play.

Diet:
The Eclectus Parrot has a longer than average intestinal tract to accommodate the high fiber diet that they eat. The wild diet includes fruits, green unripened nuts, seeds, flowers, and nectar. About 60-80 percent of the diet should be fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber and vitamin A, including the richly colored deep orange and green produce like pomegranates, mangos, cantaloupe, carrots, red and green bell peppers, kale, collards, dandelion and sprouts. The remaining 20-40 percent of the diet should be a high-quality pellet or soak-and-cook diet recommended by your avian vet or breeder. They can be indolent birds with a tendency toward obesity, so you will want to limit fatty nuts and seeds like sunflower. Their bills are not as strong as many parrot bills, and they may have trouble cracking anything harder than a peanut anyway.

Like many colorful birds, they do seem to have an elevated need for vitamin A, and a lack of this important vitamin can cause the birds to pluck. However, there have also been reports of problems from Eclectus Parrots being fed too much synthetic vitamin A or even from being fed the colorful dyed varieties of pellets. Most experts suggest that you prepare a natural “chop” mix that is heavy on naturally vitamin-rich deep red or yellow fruits (like papaya, red chili pepper, cooked yams), as well as deep leafy greens and/or freshly germinated sprouts. There is just no substitute for providing a daily diet that is extremely high in fruits and vegetables. Make sure that you never feed your Eclectus Parrot any avocado or the pits of various fruits. No chocolate allowed, either.

Written by Elaine Radford

wonderful

good appetite, beautiful eclectus, phenomenal talker, intelligent, terrific parrot companion, trainable

challenging

high pitched noise, dust glands, allergy sufferers, seasonal hormonal aggression, feather plucking

interesting

longer digestive tract, fresh produce diet, ekkie's enjoy bathing, various subspecies

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