Simple yet Striking: The Eclectus Parrot

August 20, 2018

Simple yet Striking: The Eclectus Parrot

“Sometimes, in order to stand out, you need to be just as simple as one can be”. That’s the motto of the humble Eclectus parrot (well, I’m saying humble that is compared to its other parrot cousins like the scarlet macaw and the blue-and-yellow macaw). The strikingly beautiful Eclectus hails from the South Pacific, mainly from the tropical and monsoon forests of Australia, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.

Eclectus are known as sexually dimorphic, meaning that you can tell the sex of the bird by the color of its feathers (well, that was easy). Male Eclectus are a vivid emerald green color, with bright tangerine beaks and a red and blue spattering under their wings. The females, on the other hand, are mostly deep cherry red, with black beaks and deep lavender markings on their chests and tails. In the past, these birds were thought to be completely different species by ornithologists who first saw them.

There are nine subspecies of eclectus parrots that are already known, even though the species as a whole needs further study and reviewing. Access to some regions where the species dwell is difficult due to geographical (or sometimes political reasons), for that reason, field observations have been limited. Furthermore, many skins collected in the early part of the 19th century have deteriorated in some museums (which are pretty useless for thorough studies). Luckily, most Eclectus’ skins in US museums are in mint condition. More relative information can be found here: Bird Breeds.

The known Nine Subspeciesare as follows:

also known as New Guinea Eclectus Parrot is one of the most popular parrot species kept by aviculturists and one big reason is their spectacular, bright-colored plumage and gentle, friendly personalities.

also known as Dusky Eclectus, is native to Buru, Seram (formerly Ceram), Amboina, Saparua, and Haruku in the South Moluccas / Maluka Island.

is native to the islands in Northern and Central Moluccas. The Vosmaeri Parrot can be distinguished from the other subspecies by the different purple coloration, size, and the large amount of yellow throughout the tail.

also known as the Solomon Island Eclectus Parrots - occur naturally throughout the Solomon Islands east of mainland New Guinea and northeast of Australia in the Pacific Ocean

also known as the Australian Red-sided Eclectus is limited to the Cape York Peninsula of Australia and are the largest subspecies of Eclectus Parrot, averaging 15.75 inches (37 to 40 cm) in length and weighting 450 to 610 grams.

is a large eclectus parrot, rivaling the Vosmaeri in size and has a long and narrow in body structure which gives this subspecies this tall and thin appearance. It also has the longest tail compared to any other Eclectus subspecies.

they are not commonly available and little is known of their breeding habits (For more information check out Bird Breeding). Although they are likely to be similar to those of the nominate form - the red-sided eclectus. This sub-speciesis endemic the islands in Geelvink Bay (Numfor, Biak, Yapen and MiosNum) of West Papua New Guinea.

these birds hails from the Tanimbar Islands in the Banda Sea , also known as the Riedels Eclectus or the Riedeli Eclectus Parrot. These rare birds have only just come into captivity during the 1990s and can be seen in zoological parks and major bird parks in Spain and Germany

also known as the Cornelia’s Eclectus, is endemic to the island of Sumba, in Indonesia.


Most Eclectus subspecies only have minor difference to each other like plumage patterns and colorations but pretty much all male eclectus are green and females are red.


Temperament and Personality

Eclectus Parrots have a gentle and pleasant personality that most bird breeders, both expert and novice, admires. They are quite satisfied to just sit on a perch for hours at a time playing with their toys (just like that one classmate you have in first grade who has no friends).

They do not like any clamor and they do not react well to it (they prefer a quiet and serene environment above all else). They are placid birds in captivity, but will display a solemn nature when new things or situations arrive.

They do not adjust easily to new circumstances or environments so owners must be patient and adjust to having a kind of bashful, three year old child-type companion. They can be very territorial of their cage area. So you need to let it go out of its cage a couple of times a day.

The Eclectus parrot’s personality has been misunderstood. Many have said this species is boring, dull, lethargic and even stupid. This is not the case. The Eclectus exhibiting these behaviors is showing its reaction to stress. The Eclectus is an intelligent bird and when taught properly, they are capable of sensible behavior from a very young age. (I prefer a timid Eclectus over a hyperactive macaw at any day)

Unlike lorikeets and macaws, The Eclectus is not a nagging bird and is relatively easy to care for (as long as you don’t change your daily routine with him). Since they adjust to new things slowly, you need more patience and consideration in taking care of him, like when introducing a new toy to him.

Introduce the new toy to him gradually by placing it outside his cage and let him get accustomed to if for the next few days before placing it beside its cage.

If he gets curious and plays with it (even if it was still outside his cage) then that’s the time you place it inside his cage for him to play. They indeed love new toys but suddenly placing it inside their cage may instill panic and stress to them.

If you have a lot of people in your house, especially with children who runs and plays around frequently, and also lots of activities and noise happening around, then the Eclectus may not be the best choice for a pet bird for you. They do make a good companion to people with a much quieter homes with pretty much less activity going on (especially to older people who lives in quiet homes) and people who live alone and rarely has company (just make sure that there are no new activities going on around and the daily routine is properly maintained). Some Eclectus can sometimes be noisy and are best suited to places where their loud call doesn’t bother anyone (like rest houses or quiet farms).


Dwelling

Basic care for these parrots includes their housing requirements and there are two ways that you can provide for your bird’s dwelling

You can buy a bird aviary to ensure that your pair of Eclectus parrots have a large room to fly around. Optimal minimum size of the aviary for a pair of Eclectus parrots should have a ceiling height of 6 feet (about 180 cm) and a floor space of 3 feet by 5 feet (100 x 150 cm) with. Perches should be placed in various locations around the bird aviary and should be made of natural wood with a diameter of around 2 to 4 inches. You also make sure that there are lots of playthings around like climbing ropes, wooden hanging chew toys and parrot swings inside the cage.
If you are planning to buy a bird cage for a single Eclectus parrot, pick a larger cage with a ceiling height of at least 3 feet and floor space of at least 3 feet by 3 feet (1 m x 1 m), complete with bird perches and toys too (although you need to let out your Eclectus at least 2 hours a day for they really need to fly around to stay fit and healthy). See also: Getting The Best Birdcage And Aviary

For both aviary and bird cage, you can also add a bird bath inside so that your Eclectus can splash around and bath itself whenever it needs one


Diet

The Eclectus diet in the wild is mostly made of vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Since Eclectus don’t eat many seeds in the wild, and since they are deficient in so many nutrients, it is advised to incorporate pelleted bird food that is high in vitamins and minerals on their diet to supplement their nutritional needs.

There are also some things that you should never feed to your Eclectus parrot, such as:

Eclectusrequire a diet high in Beta Carotene and vegetable protein. Their digestive tract is longer than most other species, with a larger proventriculus (the narrow glandular first region of a bird’s stomach between the crop and the gizzard) and longer intestines, so fat intake must be limited to avoid fatty tumors (this does not mean that you need to eliminate fat in their diet, for youngsters who are very active needs fat to grow up healthy). Some fat is needed to store the fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and D.

Also, with all species, if cholesterol levels are too high, the excess collects in the liver and, through the blood stream, travels to the heart where it accumulates and may cause:

Eclectus are not really picky eaters, so you need to watch out your pet birds all the time to ensure that he eats the right food and the right amounts of it. Check this article also: Foods and Treats For Bird



Possible Health Conditions

Some Eclectus have been known to have episodes of toe-tapping and wing-flipping-type muscle spasms, which are theorized to be related to vitamin and mineral imbalances and deficiencies.

Talk to your avian veterinarian on what medication is needed by your Eclectus or if there are any changes that you need to do on their diet.

Eclectus parrots might be more prone to feather picking (pulling out their feathers, like some sort of bird self-mutilation) compared to other parrots, which can be tied to medical issues and/or behavior issues. If yours begins to pick at its feathers, take your bird in to your avian veterinarian for a full medical checkup. Eclectus parrots are also susceptible to avian polyomavirus, hypovitaminosis A and psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD).


Final Remarks

Eclectus parrots are very remarkable birds with high intelligence levels and an appealing personality. They have the ability to talk and can be very loving pets to their humans if trained well since when they are still young. They love to interact with the family and become sociable with proper care and guidance. These birds are very sensitive in nature and if they feel neglected they can develop stress; and may eventually lead to the deterioration of their health and mental status, thus resulting to death on some cases.

Males and females are both lovable and fun in their own unique ways. Although many breeders and owners find males more trainable, females, on the other hand, are more independent than the males and do not get stressed easily (you go girl!). as a responsible owner, you have the duty to fulfill their needs by providing them a safe and cozy shelter, nutritious food that goes in different variety and is enough to keep them healthy and full everyday, and all the attention and affection they need. Check out aviariesdepot.com.au for all your Bird’s needs.


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