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.


Janice Sprenkle

Wanting know the correct way to teach my 26 year old Eclectus male to fly. He was clipped as a young bird lack of my not knowing the importance it held for him🙁. He is very well bonded to me and comes to me with step up. He’s a floor walker . But would absolutely love to give him back his wings💙

Janice Sprenkle

My Male Eclectus whom I have had since a baby has never flown. He is a healthy male with no injuries to wings. I would love to help learn to fly safely. I was hoping you could guild us though a safe flight.


Hi Jesse I had a male adult Eclectus, I was his 4th owner. He exhibited similar behaviour for about a year. It got much better as he adjusted. If his diet is good and there’s no medical concerns and he’s happy with the noise level in your home and where his cage is located, he should be able to adjust. Music was the thing that really helped him to settle in to the home. Parrots love music, especially classical and opera (not so much electinic or metal). They will sing and dance too. Good luck, I hope he starts to enjoy his new home.


My 4 month old went from being sweet stepping up cuddles and good behaviour to lunging and biting consistently now for 2 weeks no matter what I do ? Not sure the change was suddenly overnight


Hi I have an eckie and he is 4 I am his 3 owner and he has been with me for 5 months he screams constantly and bites a lot can you help me please?


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