What is an Eclectus Parrot?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

An Eclectus parrot is a native of the South Pacific in the parrot genus Eclectus. The genus name is often used as a common name for the species E. roratus. Around 10 known subspecies of this parrot can be found in various regions of the South Pacific. These birds are popular pets and can be obtained from breeders, as well as pet stores.

Eclectus parrots need lots of fruits and vegetables.
Eclectus parrots need lots of fruits and vegetables.

The genus name is derived from the same root as the word "eclectic." It is a reference to the striking sexual dimorphism of these birds. Unlike most sexually dimorphic birds where one sex has dull plumage and the other has bright plumage, both sexes have very colorful plumage. Male Eclectus parrots are primarily green, with highlights in other colors, while the females are red and purple. When these birds were first described by European naturalists, they initially thought they were looking at two different species because the differences were so distinctive.

In nature, the Eclectus parrot eats lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. This must be mirrored in the diet of captive birds, because their digestive tracts are longer as they have adapted to a diet with a high percentage of roughage. While many parrot species thrive on seed mixes, Eclectus parrots can develop gastrointestinal problems if they eat a seed-heavy diet and they can also become fat. Nuts and seeds should be provided more sparingly, with ample fruit and vegetables for the birds to nibble on.

People who keep parrots as pets may keep breeding pairs or single parrots. Hand-raised birds tend to be extremely sociable and easy to handle. People usually keep their parrots caged for safety, allowing them loose when someone will be around to supervise. Cages should be roomy with a rotating mix of perches and toys to prevent the Eclectus parrot from becoming stressed or bored, a common problem for these intelligent birds. The Eclectus parrot can also be taught to talk; the birds are excellent mimics and can acquire a broad vocabulary with patience and training.

Parrots in captivity can develop a variety of diseases, ranging from stress-related illnesses that cause them to pluck their feathers out to digestive problems related to an imbalanced diet. Generally, if birds are kept in an environment with light and fresh air, their litter is changed regularly, and they are provided with a varied diet, they should remain healthy. If an Eclectus parrot experiences behavioral changes or appears unhealthy, a veterinarian should be consulted.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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