Eclectus 101

Before we jump right into diet and nutrition let's learn a bit about your Eclectus.

 "Eclectus" (Psittaculini Eclectus roratus) is a nod to the word eclectic because these beauties are the most sexually dimorphic coloration of the entire parrot world.

 

Males are varying shades of green (left). They have brilliant red splashes of color on their wing bends and sides. From about one year of age, they have a striking "candy corn" colored beak.

 

Females (right) are varying shades of red, blue, lavender, and purple. Females of the Vosmaeri subspecies have a daisy yellow color on the tail and adult females have a striking  black beaks. 

Origin:

The majority of the recognizable subspecies hail from Far North Queensland Australia (Cape York Peninsula), Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, and New Guinea. Of these subspecies only a select few are available to aviculturist. They are the Grand, Red Sided, Vosmaeri , and Solomon Island subspecies.

Abilities:

With a top 3 rank in talking ability Eclectus parrots rival the African Grey and the talking Amazon parrots in clarity of speech and scope of vocabulary, they not only repeat many words and phrases but some learn entire songs. They can be a shy species so if your eclectus isn't talking while you're IN the room there's a good chance he/she is when you're not in the room.

Housing:

As with all companion birds you should provide the largest cage you can; your eclectus needs plenty of room to exercise those beautiful big wings but also they can be 'perch potatoes' so encourage them to climb around to get to their primary motivator ... food.

 

A cage width of 3 feet (approximately 1 meter) and the height of the regular Macaw cage is really ideal. These tall vertical cages allow for the placement of swings and/or nets while leaving ample room for natural branches, foraging puzzles, and treasure troves of foot toys. 

Lifespan:

While Eclectus are a fairly recent species so not an abundance was known about their longevity in captivity. As with many parrot species, eclectus in captivity have been fed improper diets. Studies indicate they need a diet high in fiber with plenty of natural sources of all vitamins and minerals for optimum health. If fed properly and given the opportunity to fly, they have an estimated lifespan comparable to an Amazon or a Grey.

Volume:

Generally speaking for a parrot of this size, the Eclectus is pretty quiet, to the point of being a perfect apartment dweller in most cases; however, there are exceptions to any rule, and quiet is not always their nature. Just be aware they do have a very loud flock call, but it is typically not used often.

Routine:

The normal 10 to 12 hours dark sleep (you may need to cover the cage) is a good rule of thumb. As with other birds,  you will notice frequent naps during the day. Young fledglings have a schedule much like a new puppy ... play hard and then sleep hard for about an hour. 

 
Diet :

Eclectus do best on a diet containing in pulpy, seedy fruits and vitamin A-rich vegetables and fruits. Pellets have been reported to cause issues for Eclectus but this is not always the case. Some eclectus do perfectly fine with pellets in their diet but it is suggested that the pellets be natural coloring, so nothing with added dyes. No one is sure why processed pellets cause issues for eclectus parrots, it could be added vitamins/minerals, it could be the grain base used, it could be colorings or it could be a combination of these three.  If your eclectus is toe tapping or wing flipping, try removing all pellets from the diet and see if that doesn't resolve the issue.

You will likely hear "the digestive tract of the Eclectus is longer than usual meaning, the food they eat takes longer to digest." We have been unable to find any medical journals to support this claim. What we do know is that mature eclectus females typically stay in the nest much of their lives (so they don't loose it to another female). They rely on many males to visit them and bring food so it's possible that they have evolved to process the foods they do get in a highly efficient manner. 

 

Eclectus are native canopy feeders, eating many fruits, nuts, and seeds of rainforest plants. They are obligate frugivores (fruit eaters) with as much as 80% of their wild diet is reported to be fruit in some ecological studies.  A diet rich in β-carotenes (which are converted into vitamin A), and plant proteins is ideal for the eclectus. You can also add a variety of nuts and sprouted seeds and legumes  to the fruit and veggie mix, but be careful as these birds can tend to be over weight especially if not flying or getting daily exercise. 

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