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With sticking feathers and a vibrant personality, the Eclectus Parrot makes a unique and appealing pet.
Many people know these birds for their bright colorations – but they are much more than that. They possess an excellent talking ability that is sure to impress your friends. Plus, they are extremely friendly and bond well with their owners.
As a larger parrot species, they do take up more room than most. You should consider this before committing to adopt one.
Only those with a lot of space should commit to these social parrots.
Keep reading to learn how to care for an Eclectus Parrot – and if they are the correct parrot species for you.
|Common Names:||Eclectus parrot|
|Scientific Name:||Eclectus roratus|
|Adult Size:||17 – 20 inches|
|Life Expectancy:||30 – 50 years|
Origin and History
The Eclectus parrot is native to the tropical rainforests of the Solomon Islands. They have since spread to Australia, Indonesia, and New Guinea.
They usually live in monsoon forests, where the ground floods regularly. To combat this, they stay at the top of the tree line, where they nest. Usually, they find a deep hole in a tree where they are protected from the outside elements and predators.
There are several sub-species of this parrot. But the one from the Solomon Islands is the most common type kept as a pet.
Over time, they become one of the most popular birds kept in captivity. They are straightforward to breed, which is partially why they are so common.
The Eclectus is social and friendly. They are pretty intelligent, like most parrots. Many bird owners describe them as gentle and cuddly.
If you’re looking for a feathered friend that will cuddle with you, this is a fantastic species.
Their friendly nature does come with a downside, though. They need socialization as part of their daily life.
Without proper socialization, they become stressed very quickly – leading to destructive behaviors like feather destruction.
The Eclectus parrot is well-known for being scared of new things. Referred to as neophobia, this trait can cause them to become more stressed than other parrots. If they are offered new toys or rehomed, they can become exceedingly stressed.
They even go so far as to memorize routines. If something changes, they can become highly stressed.
This factor may be why they are one of the more difficult parrots to keep in captivity. Avoiding new things ultimately is impossible.
Males and females have slight personality differences. Males tend to be more agreeable, while females tend to be more aggressive. Females also still have strong nesting instincts – so plan accordingly.
Speech and Vocalizations
The Eclectus parrot has excellent speech abilities.
You can train these birds to speak relatively quickly. Their friendly nature also makes them readily willing to learn words.
Their higher intelligence allows them to learn anything you want to teach them.
Despite this ability, they are on the quieter side. Other parrots are much noisier, though they may not say actual words quite as much.
They do have a distinctive honk and some similar vocalizations. These sounds are pretty startling and loud – so be prepared.
Luckily, they do happen rarely. Your Eclectus parrot is probably not going to wake you up in the middle of the night.
Eclectus Parrot Colors and Markings
This parrot species is unique in that they have visible sexual dimorphism. In other words, the males and females look very different from each other to the human eye.
Males are almost all light green with blue primary feathers and red flanks. Their beak is orange.
On the other hand, females are mostly dark red. The red coloration darkens most around their backs and wings. The underwing is so red that it’s almost purple. The tail is closer to an orange color. Their beak is all black.
The juveniles look different than the females. Their eyes even look different.
While adults have orange irises, juveniles have darker eyes. Juveniles of both genders have a brown beak, though it may fade to yellow a bit at the edges.
The colorations do vary somewhat depending on the subspecies. However, there are no detailed color variants.
Caring for the Eclectus Parrot
If you take good care of this parrot, they will be your absolute best friend. But they can be somewhat complicated to care for properly. Their disposition towards stress makes them prone to destructive behaviors – like feather mutilation.
These parrots can do well in a multi-bird household. However, their intelligence may make them prone to jealousy.
It mainly depends on the bird.
You can reduce jealousy by ensuring that the Eclectus parrot receives all the attention they need. Some of the jealousy reports could very well be caused due to under-socialized parrots. Of course, the parrot is going to seek attention if they haven’t had enough interaction.
Their house does need to be quite large – they are one of the largest parrots, after all.
An 11 ft x 3 ft x 7 ft habitat is often recommended. This sized cage can support a single bird or a pair. It is not recommended that you decrease it lower than this, even if you only have one bird.
These parrots are not suitable in homes with noisy dogs – or noisy anything, honestly. They are not fans of loud noises, especially if they are sudden.
Cats are usually okay, as they are quieter – as are animals like lizards.
Children can also be a problem for this species. Loudness often comes alongside children, and these birds don’t like anything loud. Crying and screaming can be a significant problem for these birds.
We recommend them for quieter homes only. Otherwise, they may become needlessly stressed.
Common Health Problems
Eclectus parrots have many of the same health problems as other parrots and avian species.
They are quite a bit more sensitive to stress and their environment. They should be kept away from stressful situations.
If new routines or environments must be introduced, be sure your bird is otherwise healthy – an unhealthy bird in a stressful situation will often get sick.
Nutritional deficiencies caused by an unhealthy diet are common. Many captive parrots do not get enough vitamin A. Overly fortified foods may also cause problems, though.
These birds will often demonstrate an array of symptoms when sick or stressed, including toe-tapping, wing flapping, and feather plucking. These symptoms may vary significantly from bird to bird. Some birds have different “ticks.”
Like all birds, your Eclectus parrot may be prone to respiratory problems. Drafts and suddenly changing temperatures can both cause problems.
They may also get their toe stuck into things, cutting off circulation. Usually called “constricted toe syndrome,” this condition can be pretty serious. Veterinary treatment is required in most circumstances.
Diet and Nutrition
Compared to other birds, the Eclectus parrot has some unique dietary needs.
Many other birds do perfectly fine on a pelleted diet of some sort – but not the Eclectus parrot.
Most Eckies love fruits. Some will eat veggies with equal enthusiasm, but many will prefer fruits over all others. About 60% of their diet should be made up of fruits and veggies.
Vegetables should be provided more than fruit, as fruits are pretty high in sugar.
Another 20% should be some sprouted seed carbohydrates. Legumes are another solid choice.
“Hot meals” should take up the final 20%. This often includes a grain bake or cooked pasta. You can add veggies to this to up your bird’s vegetable consumption if necessary.
Your bird’s appetite will vary over the years. Hormones, growth, seasonal changes, and age all affect their overall appetite. Many juveniles eat far more than you should expect. However, their appetite settles down in adulthood.
Unlike most other bird species, this parrot needs a diet very high in fiber. Choose foods that are high in fiber, such as sprouted grains and specific veggies.
When it comes to choosing individual fruits and veggies, pick varieties that contain more fiber.
We do not recommend commercial parrot foods. Many of these will contain artificial ingredients that can damage your bird’s health. This parrot is sensitive to what they eat, making many dyes, flavorings, and preservatives unsafe.
Plus, many parrots will become duller when fed only these sub-par commercial options.
Supplements of all sorts should be avoided. These can cause health problems and strange behavior. Most supplements contain too many specific vitamins – leading to health complications.
If your parrot is eating fruits and veggies, they should be meeting their dietary requirements.
These large parrots need a lot of exercise. Their largeness can make this problematic in captivity. They require more room than most other species.
The easiest solution is to invest in a play stand that your parrot can use with supervision. A bird-safe area should be provided for exploration, climbing, and jumping.
Let your parrot out for exercise as much as possible. Two hours a day is the minimum – preferably split into two different sessions. Don’t exercise your parrot right after they eat, as they may not be very active during these times.
In the morning and before dinner are your best options.
To keep their feet healthy, a slew of different perches is required. If they only use the same kind of perch, their feet can lose their strength and nimbleness. Aim to purchase perches of different materials and diameters so they can exercise their feet appropriately.
You should purchase plenty of climbing items, including ladders and swings. There are many quality toys on the market for parrots, but you can also make your own.
Remember, these birds are brilliant. They need plenty of mental stimulation as well. Be sure that there are toys available in their cage for them to play with when you aren’t around to supervise.
Where to Adopt or Buy an Eclectus Parrot
Eclectus parrots are not as famous as other parrot species. Therefore, you often have to find a specialty store or breeder to adopt one.
Breeders are recommended – if there is one in your area. They often take the best care of their birds and can help your bird adjust better to adoption. Going from a breeder to a pet store to a home can be stressful for this sensitive species.
You can expect to pay about $1,000 to $3,000 for an Eclectus parrot. It doesn’t matter where you get them from – they all cost about this much.
You may find these birds at rescues due to their long lifespan. However, this is rarer than finding a dog at a rescue, for example. You can check for avian rescues near you.
The Eclectus parrot is a unique species with vary different colorations between genders. Males are primarily green, while females are striking red color.
You can’t get more different than that.
Like most parrots, they are knowledgeable. Many people are awed by their talking skills, especially after they hit a year of age. You can teach these parrots to do practically anything – and their friendliness means that they are often willing to learn.
However, they are pretty sensitive and need a lot of attention. Adopting one is a huge commitment that should only be taken after plenty of thought.
Featured Image Credit: KenWongYL, Shutterstock
Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents create a fulfilling life with their pets by informing them on the latest scientific research and helping them choose the best products for their pets. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one-day!