Eclectus

Different from the rest

Not so very long ago, avian researchers thought that the male and female eclectus parrots were two entirely different species of parrot. That’s not surprising since they look completely different from each other: the male being predominantly florescent green and the female bright red and blue. They are one of very few color dimorphic parrots – those whose gender can be determined by appearance.

As it turns out, there is a lot about the eclectus parrot that makes them different from the rest.

Another notable difference is in the quality of their contour feathers, which line the head, necks, and undersides of the body. Where the feathers on other parrot species have interlocking barbs (the small strands that extend from the feather shaft), the eclectus contour feathers barbs do not interlock and have a hair-like appearance. The tail and flight feathers have interlocking barbs, as it is necessary for flight.

Different behaviors

While the eclectus parrot plays vigorously with its toys and is a great talker and mimicker, they are generally known as quiet and calm birds. There is an upside and a downside to their calmness…

The upside is that, in captivity, they are not regarded as screamers. Anybody with parrot experience will immediately see this is as a plus. They are excellent parrots for apartment dwellers or condo owners.

The downside is not as clear. Experienced owners of the eclectus parrot will tell you that their quiet and calm demeanor makes it especially hard to gauge their level of contentment in captivity.

The eclectus parrot expresses their stress and fear completely differently from other parrot species. Where most parrots will issue a piercing warning call, fly off or bite when they are frightened, the eclectus resorts to a very different behavior: they become still and quiet.

Without obvious signs of distress, owners unfamiliar with the eclectus will not be aware when their parrot is nervous or unhappy in their environment. They will be shocked when they discover a plucking problem or a stress related illness, or receive an unexpected bite one day.

Owners, new owners in particular, must be constantly aware of everything in the eclectus environment. It will be your job to spot potential problems since your bird will not point them out you. 

Different dietary needs

The eclectus is considered to be one of the more difficult species to feed properly. They are particularly prone to some illnesses that result from inadequate diet.

The eclectus digestive system is different from that of other parrot species (its intestines are longer and it proventriculus is bigger), making it a more dynamic system with which to deliver nutrients AND fats. Because of this, the eclectus is prone to fatty tumors, obesity and fatty liver disease.

Another common affliction are strange neurological disorders called toe tapping and wing flipping where the feet clench and unclench and/or the wings drop from position and “flick” back into place involuntarily and rhythmically.

Both conditions are said to be a result of their remarkably efficient digestive system’s ability to cause excessive nutrient delivery. This makes appropriate diet an essential part of eclectus ownership.

How to prevent and cure Fatty Liver disease in parrots can be found in our natural feeding system within our cookbooks.

34 comments

Camie

I would like recommendations for. my Neekid Ekkie

Camie
Charley

Hi, first of all I love your vids so much!! I’m 15 so I still live with my parents and they said I can’t get an eclectus parrot and I understand y. I have to travel from r house to house every other day so I won’t be able to give it the attention that it needs. But my aunt and uncle have one that I have literally fell in love with so after that I have been doing my research so that I’m the future I can get one. But I don’t know whether I should get a male or a female. So plz email me!! Thankyou !!!!

Charley
Kathy DeCree

We have a 20 yr. old female SI Eclectus. Where do I start? We’ve had her since she was 5 months old. She only says 2 or 3 words, but always likes talking with us. She is in a cage most of the day because we have 1 dog that I don’t trust at all. They both go at each other through her cage. After the dogs are in bed, I open her cage up and she comes out but doesn’t really fly much. Her diet is from a local bird store that mixes their own feed for each breed of bird. We do give her fruit daily with her food. She loves eating whatever we have with any kind of pasta being her fav. She does love music and tv, so I always have something on for her. She is pretty good with us handling her except when she’s hormonal and has laid her eggs. Then she’ll nail me in a heartbeat. She does lay eggs usually 1 then a day or 2 later a second one. I do cover her every night for bed. She wants me to pet her head and neck, and we do have a routine of when I feed her she’ll take a piece of food then lift her wing for me to pet under both of them before she will walk over to her bowl of food. She won’t do that at all if she has eggs. They are just on the bottom of the cage on the grate and she’ll sit on them all day. When she started years ago laying eggs I would take them right away, they weren’t fertilized. I spoke with the people at my bird store and they said to leave them or she’ll keep laying as chickens do. They also told me to stop petting her on her body except for her head. When Blossom is out with either of us she does like to cuddle, hide in your shirt, etc. When she starts sticking her butt up to me I know it’s time to leave her alone, but she still lays eggs. She also runs to the back corner of her cage and buries her head down into the corner. My daughter will take her up to her room for alone time. Blossom walks around on the floor. She does fly up and down from the bed and she loves sitting with my daughter on her bed and Blossom watches tv with her. She jabbers during that time also. She also, in the last few years, has started regurgitating her food and tries to feed my daughter who then gets grossed out, tells Blossom “No”. She tries to distract her with a toy or whatever. So what are we doing wrong? I feel bad for her laying eggs, like every 2 or 3 months. She sounds horrible when she’s laying the eggs, always at night. We know when she has eggs before looking in her cage. I feel so bad for her. I was told to leave the eggs with her for 30 or so days, then take them. She tends to get tired of them by then. Oh yeah, when she has her eggs she’s always covering them with regurgitated food so they look gross. So who has the problem Blossom or us? Haha Kathy

Kathy DeCree
Ellen Thomas

I have a plucking 19 year old male Eclectus. He’s on Harrison’s high potency course but he still plucks. Only on his right side. Is it like nail biting? All labs were perfect.

Ellen Thomas
Sara McIntee

Hi there Birdtricks family and feathered friends. We are welcoming a 13 year old abandoned eclectus into our home. He is currently eating pretty bird gold. I have done extensive research on the best pellets to offer an eclectus other then there daily fresh veggies. (Just made a fresh batch of chop for good arrival today) We would like to have his switch to TOPS pellets as we are in canada and due to the restrictions we cannot purchase your awesome pellets. Any suggestions would be great. I’ve learned through your great videos and posts that the eclectus diet is very special and needs attention and care. Any advice would be great in welcoming our new flock member, Harley the eclectus. Thank you! Sara

Sara McIntee
Pamala

I have a yearling male Eclectus. He’s an absolute joy but he does exhibit toe tapping & wing flipping. Most of his food is fresh and free fed through the day. He gets bored with individual items so it’s difficult to keep him eating what I would deem a healthier diet. He also has Zupreem natural pellets but isn’t overly happy with them and they’re so hard most of the pellet goes flying. To be so food oriented he’s quite difficult to keep healthy! I’m VERY excited to try your freeze dried food. It could make life so much easier for both of us! Hoping to catch it in stock. Any chance I could buy a sample of your pellets when the freeze dried ships? I stocked up on pellets in case of the forecasted shipping apocalypse, so I could kick myself now that you have pellets. Hmmm… maybe use them in birdie bread? Thanks for all you do! Verde sends his love!

Pamala
Amadea Knoetze

I have a 13 year old Eclectus male. He is the total opposite of the description above. He tells me exactly what he likes and dislikes. I can read him much better than my other two (Ringneck and Hahns Macaw). He also changes from fluorescent green to emerald green depending on his mood. I’ve had him for 5 months now and he hated me in the beginning… not a touchy bird but he flies to me now.

Amadea Knoetze
Diane Sanborn

We have a four year old female Eclectus, Ella. We’ve had her for a year. She is as you say mostly quiet and sweet. Will go to either my husband or me amd to others as well if we guide the visitor to use soft voice and proper hand position. Things do spook her and she will scream pretty loud. Doesn’t last long…10 seconds. She came from a bird shop that had 4 very loud Amazons so maybe it’s learned behaviour? Her plumage is beautiful and I make chop which she doesn’t always like. I’d like to step up my game in that area!

Diane Sanborn
Lydia

23 yr old Eclectus .. plucks excessively. Do you have the proper diet for him to help with plucking?

Lydia
Carolann Richards

I have a female Eclectus she is almost 12 mths old and I think she hates me. I love her so much but she attacks me. I don’t know what to do Ive had birds before but none have attacked me like ruby does please help me

Carolann Richards
Elena Buoncompagni

My Camillo Is the best of Ecletto , he is only 2 years old and I have sincerely lost count of all the words he has learned .. not only that but sentences of complete meaning created and composed by himself and above all he does not say random words they all have a sense .. I recommend it .. .

Elena Buoncompagni
grace

hi, bird tricks! I am looking into getting either an Eclectus or an African grey which would you recommend? and also is it true that Eclectus parrots need a lot of fruit in their diet and that they also need nectar? and will your seasonal feeding system work on Eclectuses? please help me I can’t find definite answers anywhere!!!

grace
Alfonso Dattolo

thanks for the videos , best investment so far . i have owned many birds fed from babies , pin feathers and baby bottle . these guys are not like other birds period . having both a male and female i can readly see why many love the male more lol. he is timid but she is crazy , i like crazy more

Alfonso Dattolo
ELEANOR HANCOX

Thank you so much! This article really helped me because I have been trying to do reserch on Eclectus’s for a long time.

ELEANOR HANCOX
Patrick

Please I need help better understand my female eclectus bird. She always flys down to the ground, going under the bed or a dark space or sits at the bottom right side of the cage and always stay down there. She runs over there to bottom of the cage when called on or when put back into the cage. She doesn’t play with her toy’s or likes to hang out on top or her cage or stands I have for her and just likes to chew though wood or cardboard. She runs away when called on, sometimes moans for my attention. When doesn’t get attention she flys away stomps her feet and taps on a surface hard with her beak.

Patrick
Linda

I have a eclupus

Linda
Lori Champagne

I have a female Eclectus and she is very hormonal. I found that changing her diet to the seasonal feeding system has made a difference. There are foods that will make your bird more hormonal. I also removed of keep her out of areas that she likes to nest around. I have boughten toys that she loves to shred as she has chewed all of the cupboards in the kitchen. Since changing her diet, it has made a difference in her behaviour.

Lori Champagne
Vania benetta

We have a pair of eclectus named juliet and romeo and i forgot to listed them in my bird list oops

Vania benetta
Diane Sanborn

I love Your videos and website. We had an African Grey rescue, Ray. He was with us 10+ years before he passed. May have been with multiple owners Before us. Avian Vet approximated 20 years Old when we first brought him home, he also had a lame talon. He was wonderful with us. Talkative and affectionate. We still miss him and it’s been a few years since. Before him we had Cockatiels. We would love another parrot and an Eclectus is in our sites. Not many of them here in Ontario, Canada. We are on a mission though. This as we are working from home. My husband a musician and Music prof at university, me a nurse of 40 years, now teaching online infection prevention and control. We are both obsessed with birds again thanks to you two! Diane and Chase Toronto💖

Diane Sanborn
Alfonso Dattolo

I have a 9 month old salaman pair. Hope to bread one day. Have since 8 weeks. Feeding is easy so far , veggies 3 times a day and zupreme pellets at night. I think 3 or 4 feedings is better. Why is mine seem to be curious of new . So I keep various amount of varied veggies n fruit on hand. Soacked beans , germinated ones as well. This site rocks so far showing me new foods To try. Artichokes are way cool they loved it. My pair are terrorists in what they do even eating. So as they attempt to grab each other’s food it’s funny to watch. Variation seems to be a great ideal for them.

Alfonso Dattolo
Ben

Hello all. So we have a female Eclectus. She is from an animal shelter and has been re homed several times before we were lucky enough to have her. She didn’t have a great diet before we got her, so currently getting a good balanced diet for her. My Main question is she is quite aggressive and has been since day 1. She will lunge and bite the cage if you get too close, And she will bit very hard when we try taking her in and out of her cage, for example bed time. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to coax her out of this biting trait, is it a simple case of repetition, IE getting her used to being handled. Thanks, Look forward to any advice people can give.

Ben
Rod

Hi Just wondering what is the best vegetables to start feeding my baby eccys on? Also how to offer them to them? Cheers

Rod
Jeff Aurigemma

Hello there! I have been watching your videos and reading your information here. I have a 22 year old Male Solomon Island eclectus that I have raised since he is 6 weeks old. His name is Basil, and he is older than all of my own kids. I have always had issues with him wanting to eat anything besides his pellets, some seeds, and some different fruits and veggies. Mostly harder fruits and veggies like apples, carrots, some pears, pomegrante, sweet potato, and cactus fruit (prickly pear). I cannot get him to eat all this other stuff people recommend, and he also refuses to play with his toys in general. Unless I hide almonds and his snacks in cardboard, he doesn’t chew or play with any toys. He has been like this since he was little, and always had tons of stuff offered to him. He also ha a bit of Randy Bird Syndrome…. Sometimes for hours in his cage at a time. He also is a sneak attack biter… He can be fine, sitting there, and then he will sometimes just bite. He’s overall a good bird, and friendly to all the kids. Just me he can be aggressive too, but I always thought that was because I am the one who cleans his cage and he doesn’t like anyone messing around with the inside of it. I digress…. Any advice on how to get him to eat some different things? Or at 22 is he going to be stuck in his ways?

Jeff Aurigemma
Lisa

Is there a substitute for apple sauce. I have a female Eclectus parrot who has been ill since we got her 10 years ago. She has many allergies resulting in anaphylaxis like activity. Apple being one of them. Many others. She allergic to the histamines and salicylates naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables. She has many health issues fatty liver being one of them. Do you have any advice to reverse this problem. I’d like to try your product’s but herbs have been a problem. Because of the salicylates. She is not retaining nutrients because of leaky gut. Chronic systemic yeast. The list goes on. I have tried everything over the years. Only to have a short term results and than back to square one. Constant researching and looking for products to bring her back to health!

Lisa
Ted

Ted.Lisle@twc.com If you’re a beginner, a good all-natural pellet is a good place to start. Frozen or fresh raw vegetables may include carrots, celery, radishes, salad mix, sweet potatoes, and certain greens. Fruit may include occasional apple slices, bananas, and, I understand, strawberries. Occasional nuts and seeds are permissible, but watch the fat. I’m a rank beginner myself, but am trying hard to learn.

Ted

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