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Red Sided Eclectus

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Stunning beauty, unremarkable intelligence.

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Red Sided Eclectus
Weight:
Height:
Temperment:
 
450 grams
12 inches
Calm, observant

Size & Weight characteristics

The Eclectus is a medium size parrot with a wingspan of two to two and half feet. Of the commonly available subspecies, the Solomon Island Eclectus is the smallest and the Vosmaeri Eclectus is the largest but otherwise, few generalizations about weight are helpful. According to Dr. Susan Clubb, the average weight of the adult male Eclectus is 430 grams with a range of 388 to 524. The average weight of the adult female Eclectus is 452 grams with a range of 383-549 grams. Eclectus parrots continue to grow until the age of two years.

Origin

They originate from the Cape York Peninsula of Australia, the islands of Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, and New Guinea. The nominate race is the Grand Eclectus, "Eclectus roratus roratus". According to one expert, there are nine Eclectus sub-species.

• Red-sided Eclectus -- Eclectus roratus polychloros (blue eye ring/no yellow on tail)
• Vosmaeri Eclectus -- Eclectus roratus vosmaeri (yellow on tail/no blue eye ring)
• Solomon Island Eclectus -- Eclectus roratus solomonensis (like small Red-sided)
• Aruensis Eclectus -- Eclectus roratus aruensis (larger Red-sided/male has red eyes)
• Macgillivray Eclectus -- Eclectus roratus macgillivrayi (largest, like Red-sided)
• Biaki Eclectus -- Eclectus roratus biaki
• Cornelia's Eclectus -- Eclectus roratus cornelia
• Riedeli's Eclectus -- Eclectus roratus riedeli
• Westermani Eclectus -- Eclectus roratus westermani

Subspecies identification

The Eclectus males are difficult to identify unless one is familiar with the identifying characteristics of the males of all the Eclectus subspecies. The fluorescent yellow-green of the Vosmaeri male is obviously a lighter shade than the deep blue-green of the Red sided male. The longer neck and tail of the Vosmaeri male is a helpful trait for the purpose of identification, and the small size overall of the Solomon Island male is helpful. The Grand male is not easily identified because identification is made by subtle differences in beak color, tail length and tail tip color and this require an experienced eye.

The subspecies of the female Eclectus can be determined easily than that of the male. The Vosmaeri female is readily identifiable by her daisy-yellow tail band, the yellow "V" in the vent area, and the absence of a blue eye ring. The Red sided and Solomon Island females can be identified by their cobalt blue breast with a definite bib rather than the gradual blending of the breast colors of the Vosmaeri female. Also, a ring of blue feathers surrounding the eye is an easy identification characteristic of the Red sided and Solomon Island females. The Grand female has neither the wide, clear yellow tail band of the Vosmaeri female, nor the solid red tail of the Red sided and Solomon Island female, but rather a narrow tipping of dull yellow-orange at the end of her tail.

Personality

Some of the descriptive words used by owners to describe their Eclectus companions are "charming, outgoing, curious, childlike, clever, playful, intuitive, and intelligent". The intuitive instinct of Eclectus parrots allows them to easily read our moods, which is responsible for owners bonding with them on a deeper level than they bond with other pets. The empathetic nature of the Eclectus accounts for the fact that fewer Eclectus parrots are found in rescue facilities. It takes some getting used for some new owners who are not accustomed to the laid back nature of the Eclectus. These birds "freeze" when faced with danger instead of flying wildly in an attempt to escape. Overall, the Eclectus is a good choice for those who appreciate a "thinking" companion bird. They are not a pet to be ignored and treated like a beautiful decoration. Eclectus are amazingly gentle with children if the children are old enough and aware enough to be reasonably considerate of their size difference. Eclectus adapt well to change, but not to the stress of loud and angry exchanges in unhappy family situations. This can cause feather destruction and other undesirable behaviors.

Talking ability

Eclectus parrots are generally classified among the top three parrots for talking ability. Rivaling the African Grey and the talking Amazon parrots in clarity of speech and scope of vocabulary, they not only repeat many words and phrases but some learn entire songs. They can imitate perfectly the sounds of a microwave oven, alarm clock, phone, or dripping faucet! Some males have melodious voices while others sound more like the men in their families, but nearly all Eclectus females have a charming, sweet and seductive voice. As with all parrot species, there are birds that never learn more than "hello" and one must be prepared to love a bird even if it never talks. Most Eclectus do learn at least a few words.

Bathing

Eclectus parrots should be bathed at least every other day and many thrive on daily bathing.

Housing

The general recommendation for housing the Eclectus is to use the largest affordable cage that one's home will accommodate. Horizontal space is more critical than vertical space, although a tall Macaw cage with living space that extends to the floor provides enough room to include a spiral rope toy (Boing) which Eclectus parrots especially enjoy. The minimum interior cage space should be 30" wide, 24" deep, and 36" high. This is assuming that the bird will have daily time out of the cage which is important for both exercise and for the social interaction that is essential to the well being of the gregarious Eclectus. Cages should never be placed in a drafty area nor in front of a window without an area shaded from the sun.

DIET

Joseph M. Forshaw in PARROTS OF THE WORLD wrote, "Eclectus Parrots feed on fruits, nuts, seeds, berries, leaf buds, blossoms and nectar procured in the treetops... Gut contents from specimens collected in the eastern Solomons comprised soft, mainly fig-like, fruit; and from other birds collected, fruit pulp and many small fruit stones."

Offer variety by feeding fresh juicy fruits, fibrous vegetables, leafy greens, a variety of sprouted seeds, nuts, dry seeds, and cooked foods. Cooked foods would not be found in the wild, but sweet potatoes, carrots, and other root vegetables contain some nutrients that require heat to break down the cell walls to be released. Eclectus find foods in all stages of growth in their treetop homes.

Sprouts are an easy way to provide living food with the many enzymes and trace nutrients found in the wild. Homegrown SPROUTS are the least expensive organically grown food available.

Greens are the most neglected component of the Eclectus diet. Few owners feed even one leafy green food daily although greens are the best non-dairy source of calcium, an important mineral, especially for egg-laying hens.

Nuts are "for the birds" not only because they are natural part to the parrot diet, but because they contain "good fats" which are important for health and feather quality.

Protein should be offered several times a week and hard-boiled eggs with the shell are the perfect protein food for parrots. Cooked chicken legs are another favorite.

Natural juicy foods of deep color, including greens, sprouts, fruits and vegetables should be the mainstay of the Eclectus diet. They do not need vitamin A supplements nor shots, as was believed many years ago. They assimilate all the vitamin A that they need from the colorful orange, yellow, red, and green foods like pomegranates, mangos, cantaloupe, carrots, red and green bell peppers, kale, collards, dandelion and other greens. All parrots should be given organically grown produce whenever possible because of the damaging cellular effects of pesticides. If a complete diet of whole foods is given, pellets can be fed as a vitamin and mineral supplement but only as a smaller percentage of the total diet.

Longevity

Eclectus parrots live as long as other parrots of similar size, such as Amazons and African Greys. I personally know of one pair that is still producing at the age of thirty-plus years, so obviously thirty is not old age for an Eclectus parrot. Because they have not been commonly available in the United States for more than a few decades, there are few Eclectus over the age of thirty in captivity in the U.S. but they are capable of living for 50-75 years just as other parrots of comparable size.

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The Eclectus Parrot
Eclectus females are heavy bodied birds with a compact, rounded look. They have predominately red coloration of varying shades and most subspecies have beautiful blue or lavender-purple breast feathers, as well as a daisy-yellow tail band and vent on the female of the Vosmaeri subspecies. The mature female of all Eclectus subspecies has a jet black beak while the mature male's beak is a stunning candy-corn configuration of yellow, orange and red.

Eclectus males are streamlined, efficient flyers with feathers of brilliant shades of emerald green with blue or yellow hues, varying according to subspecies. They have splashes of red on their sides and some blue in the wings and tail. The upper mandible of the Eclectus male changes from a lack of pigment at hatching, to black for their first six to twelve months of life. Then the upper mandible of males of all the subspecies develops the characteristic stunning candy corn color, usually by the age of one year but occasionally delayed until 18 to 24 months of age.

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Angel Dreams Aviary
Lumby, BC
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