One of the most unique parrots we have bred was the Eclectus. These are very gentle and quiet birds that are rapidly becoming popular by pet owners. But they are not the easiest birds to breed, making them in low supply, and therefore driving up the cost to well over $1000.
Eclectus are very unique parrots, because they are sexually dimorphic, which means there is a very big difference between male and female, making it extremely easy to identify them. Male Eclectus are green, while females are predominately red and blue.
It was during the late 1880′s that scientist discovered that the green Eclectus were the males and the Red Eclectus were the females and that applied in each of the Eclectus species. This made sexing the chicks easy for breeders since there is no doubt by the color of the pin feathers as to what sex the baby was, so this was a financial savings on DNA testing on all the chicks.
There are 16 documented species of the Eclectus, however only 4 are generally available in the United States and Europe. These are the Solomin Island, Red Sided, Vosmaeri, and Grand. The Eclectus is a medium sized parrot. Solomon Island’s are the smallest, being 12”-13” long. Red-Sided Eclectus are the biggest at 16”-17”.
Eclectus are a bird native to New Guinea , the Solomon Islands, and southwards to Australia. In the wild, they are very good fliers, and spend much of their time flying over the jungle canopy.
As pets they are very gentle and playful. While they have a loud scream they are normally very quiet. They are excellent talkers, being rated in the top three of the parrots. From our experience, the males have always been the best talkers, and the most friendly and sociable of the sexes.
They are fairly difficult to breed. Breeders that start out as pets have a difficult time learning to parent and are the most difficult to breed. Wild Eclectus parrots seem to do better.
The female will generally lay 2 eggs and only she will incubate them, coming out of the breeder box twice a day to be fed by the male. When the chicks are a bit older she will come out and feed herself. The chicks are weaned by the age of 16 weeks.
In captivity, Eclectus parrots do not require a large cage, as they tend to not fly much. Many breeders who are offered large cages simply walk around or stay on their perches. The female spends most of her time in her breeding box. As pets, they enjoy spending their time on their cage, or on T-stands. They enjoy being petted and cuddled, but don’t usually get involved in active play with their owners.
Therefore, they will do great in a medium sized parrot case of 30x24x50. They are active chewers, and will quickly destroy their perches. So be sure they have extra wood toys to chew on, or invest in some good Manzanita perches. These are a very hard, dense wood that is difficult for birds to destroy.
Eclectus have a few unusual dietary needs. They must have a diet with a low fat content (adults only) due to their longer digestive tract. They are also susceptible to having low vitamin deficiencies, such as A, E, and D. Too much cholesterol will quickly develop into liver problems and a host of other blood related issues.
Therefore, they must have a very well balanced diet. It is important for an Eclectus owner to understand these health issues, and be able to identify the signs of potential problems. The very best method is to have your bird checked annually by an experienced avian vet, who will do a CBC blood test. Otherwise, you must learn to watch for feather problems, especially discoloration and blackening of the tops of the feathers. Also monitor them for fatigue and signs of diseases that are brought on from immune system problems.
There are some special pellet diets on the market designed for Eclectus parrots that contain a very low oil and fat content. When we bred them, we used just a standard pellet (such as Zupreem or Kaytee) and monitored their other food intake. They must be given extra vegi’s loaded with Vitamin A and E. Some research indicated they do not handle vitamin mixes, but I am not really convinced by this research to the point of abandoning them. We have taken in Eclectus birds with obvious deficiencies, and the vitamins brought them back just fine.
As a pet, the Eclectus is an excellent choice for a large parrot. They are intelligent, and known to just sit quietly and observe what is happening around the room. They are friendly and affectionate, great talkers, and will generally stay on their cage or stand. If you are planning to get one as a pet, it is recommended that you choose a male over the female, as they tend to be more docile and adjust to their new homes much quicker.
[tags]eclectus parrot, eclectus bird diet, eclectus parrot info[/tags]
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