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Eclectus

pic eclectus2pic eclectusEclectus (pronounced ek-lek-tuss) parrots set themselves apart from other parrots species because they are most sexually dimorphic! This means that you can tell easily distinguish the males from the females.

Male Eclectus parrots are primarily green with orange beaks and females are mostly red with black beaks!  

It is thought that, since female Eclectus parrots spend so much time guarding their nesting sites at tree hollows, their brilliant red coloration helps the male Eclectus to spot their potential mates.  

The males green coloration helps them blend in well with the forest providing them with good camouflage as they travel great distances to find food to feed their mates.

In captivity, Eclectus parrots are known to be intelligent and affectionate, having laid-back personalities. Female Eclectus tend to be more territorial about their space and a bit more agressive than the males.

In general, Eclectus are not considered to be very noisy birds but they can emit a very loud squawk.  They are great at mimicking human speech and make wonderful companions. Eclectus are content to spend time on their perches and play stands in quiet environments, playing with their toys.

"Ekkies", as they are affectionately called, love to eat! Eclectus parrots have a very long digestive tract and therefore a high fiber diet complete with a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables is the healthiest.  Eclectus require more beta-carotene in their diet than other species. Examples of foods high in beta-carotene include carrots, pumpkin, squash, sweet potato and dark leafy greens.

They have a tendency to be overweight, and so it is very important to monitor their diets, providing the right proportions of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seed. When feeding pellets, it is important to avoid colored brands as eclectus are sensitive to coloring agents and food additives.

eclectus mapEclectus parrots are native to the Solomon and the Southern Moluccas Islands, New Guinea and parts of Australia.

The Electus habitat is described as semi-tropical & monsoon rainforests and lowland forests.

Eclectus often travel in pairs or small flocks but large flocks are known to congregate around plentiful fruit trees. Most of their day is spent foraging and at dusk they return to their roosting site with as many as eighty birds.

In the wild, they eat wild figs, unripe nuts, flower and leaf buds, berries, blossoms, seeds and even some insects. Two of their favorite foods are pomegranates and corn. 

Eclectus parrots have two distinct calls.  While flying they often repeat a loud noisy screech and while feeding they have a more mellow cry.

Eclectus parrots prefer to build their nest holes in the tallest trees near the edge of the forest.  There is very intense competition for suitable nest holes.  Because of this, once found, female Eclectus may stay in their nests up to nine months per year and have been observed fighting to the death to maintain ownership. 

These parrots do not mate for life.  In fact, both male and female Eclectus often have many mates during the same breeding season. The female and the multiple males all take a role in raising the chicks.  Up to seven males have been observed at the same nest hole.

Eclectus can breed year round and a clutch is typically two eggs.   Female Eclectus incubate the eggs by themselves but both parents feed the chicks and the female only leaves the nest a few times a day to be fed by the male. 

The wild population of Eclectus parrots is not considered endangered or threatened.  

Listen to Eclectus in the wild:

View a video of an Eclectus pair mating:

Watch a National Geographic video on Eclectus:

 
Eclectus roratus

To see more pictures and obtain information about a variety of species click on the links below:

 

Life Span:

40 - 50 yrs.

Length:

14" (35 cm)

Weight:

15 - 16 oz. (430 -  450 grams)

  • Due to their extreme color differences, the first observers of Eclectus parrots thought that the males and females were two different species!
  • To further confuse matters, contrary to most bird species, the female Eclectus has brighter plumage than the males.
  • Eclectus have a feather structure different from other parrots. Most parrots, have feathers constructed with interlocking structures called barbules. The barbules help the feathers to "zip" together into a stronger shape. Eclectus have hair like feathers without barbules.
  • The name Eclectus is derived from the word eclectic in recognition of the widely varied coloration between males and females.
  • Eclectus have also been called Sacred Temple Parrots as they were the objects of worship by Buddhists and kept in religious temples.
  • When a female Eclectus sits on eggs, she is usually fed by several different males.
  • Pomegranates are the favorites fruit of Eclectus parrots and corn is the favorite vegetable.
  • Native tribes in New Guinea use Eclectus feathers for decorations.
  • The Solomon Islands and Palau have issued stamps featuring eclectus parrots:
stamp Ekkie stamp Ekkie2

(source: bird-stamps.org) 

  • Check out the amazing vocal skills of Riley!

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