Native to northeastern Australia, the Maluku Islands, the Solomon Islands, Sumba, and New Guinea, Eclectus Parrots have long been a mystery to bird lovers and experts alike. Confusion about the gender distinction encompassing the further difficulty in recognizing the nine subspecies, Eclectus have earned their present recognition after decades. And the fame is only gaining more traction with more bird lovers choosing this species as companions over other the popular ones.
Eclectus Parrot Lifespan
Not much has been known about the lifespan of an Eclectus parrot in the wild. But mapping the patterns, they have been reported to live for around 25 to 30 years when in the wild. But they tend to live more while in captivity.
What is the lifespan of an Eclectus Parrot?
With good care and a balanced diet, Eclectus tends to live for around 40 years while in captivity. But if exceptional care is extended, Eclectus have been known to live even for 50 years. That said, they still live for around 30 years with average care.
Eclectus Parrot Size
An Eclectus is a stocky parrot species with a size ranging between 15 to 17 inches. The species has a wingspan of around 8 to 10 inches with males having a larger wingspan than their female counterparts. The weight of Eclectus averages around 410 grams depending on the gender and subspecies type.
How big do Eclectus Parrot get?
One of the frequently asked questions by the beginners is whether an Eclectus parrot is too big to handle? The answer is that Eclectus is a fairly large species that not only needs expertise, especially in handling physically. That said, it isn’t the most demanding kind of species when it comes to emotional handling. One can have a fulfilling companionship with an Eclectus if he can handle him well and spend just a little time.
Eclectus Parrot Breeding
The Eclectus Parrot species has an unusual breeding style in the wild. Unlike most of the other parrot species which raise their young ones solely, Eclectus chicks are raised in a joint family system. This means that all the uncles and aunts help in raising the young ones until they are ready to move out from the nest and be on their own.
Eclectus Parrot Breeding Age
Though an Eclectus chick would come as male/female in his actions by the age of one, this is just a learning phase of assuming roles later on while they pair up. Sexual maturity is generally reached anywhere between the age of 1.5 to 4 years. This depends on specific birds and even varying subspecies.
That said, the majority of the Eclectus would mature by the age of 3 but breed only a few years later as they get mature enough to raise a family.
Eclectus Parrot breeding season and nesting site
There is no particular season for the Eclectus to breed and mating happens when a female gets wooed by the male suitor. Many males try to woo one female by pursuing her. He would squawk to get her attention and if the female approves, the courtship began.
Before mating, the female Eclectus selects a nesting site high up in the cavity of a tree trunk. Often, the entrance is around 3 inches as it gives a snug feel. Once the nesting site is finalized, the female would start preparing it for laying eggs by chewing up the wood and lining the nest with it.
Eclectus Parrot Egg Laying
Two to three eggs are laid which are incubated solely by the female. The male takes care of all the duties outside the nest like bringing food for the female, et al. The eggs are incubated for 28-30 days. The young ones fledge at around 11 weeks or so.
Eclectus Parrot Breeding Behavior
Like all other parrot species, the breeding behavior can be noticed in an Eclectus pair too. Aggression and feeling a bit territorial is seen in both the cock and the hen. That said, the males have always been reported to be a little calmer when compared to the females. Females tend to be feistier.
Unlike many other parrot species, the Eclectus parrot is polygamous and mate with different partners at a time. Female Eclectus likes to stay inside her nest for 11 months with multiple males feeding and taking care of her. Male Eclectus birds always travel from nest to nest even miles away to mate with different females.
Eclectus Parrot Gender Difference
Eclectus Parrots happen to be one of the most sexually dimorphic species with such visual differences between males and females that once they were thought to be two different species. Where males are predominantly covered in a green plumage, females are overall a dark shade of red. Many other color markings also set them apart.
Photo Credit: Snowmanradio, CC BY 2.0 – H. Zell, CC BY-SA 3.0
Eclectus Parrot Intelligence
When intelligent parrot species are listed, none is complete without mentioning Eclectus. Infamous as ‘perch potato’ until a few years ago, this made people label them as dull and lazy. But it was when the bird wasn’t petted on a large scale. With more people adopting Eclectus, their intelligence eventually got unraveled.
How smart are Eclectus Parrots?
Many owners have noticed and reported their Eclectus’ high intelligent quotient. Following are some of their behavioral patterns that prove their intelligence which is at par with other intelligent parrot species like Greys:
- A great memory; which is evident from the huge vocabulary they manage to memorize.
- An analytical mind; can be gauged with their ability to use their speech in context.
- A clever thought process; quality of theirs’ reported by many owners, which is displayed when they learn to unlock all the door locks within a few attempts. They are famed escape artists.
- A logical and active mind; with their inherent curiosity to know the secret behind mysteries, Eclectus have been known to use their logic to forage into the toys filled with hidden treats.
- Ability to mimic and memorize; a quality that they display by learning various tricks by simply observing their surroundings. Also, they are a pro at quickly mimicking the sounds and songs they hear. They are few of the rare parrot species to mimic and memorize not just parts but complete songs by heart.
Eclectus Parrots Talking Ability
Eclectus Parrots are considered as one of the smartest parrots and stand in line with the African Greys and Amazons. They display exceptional talking skills by memorizing not only words but songs as well.
Can Eclectus Parrots talk?
Eclectus Parrots can do a lot of talking by learning a long list of words and phrases. They also love to mimic tunes, especially musical ones, that they hear from their surroundings. And when it comes to clarity of speech, they are great rivals to big birds like Greys. A distinct talking behavior of Eclectus is that they love to talk to or sing to their human as well as bird companions.
Here is a video of famed Riley talking to his human companion that would confuse many for his clarity and talking-in-context. Enjoy!
At what age do Eclectus Parrot start talking?
Surprisingly, Eclectus Parrots may start talking even before they are weaned. But what makes it possible is a good hand-feeder who keeps repeating these words to the little chick daily while feeding or interacting. Hence, a little training in hindsight goes a long way to make an Eclectus talk early on.
How do I teach my Eclectus Parrot to talk?
Teaching an Eclectus to talk has been known to be a fairly easy task. All one needs to focus on is repetition and consistency. And it is always best to start the training early on. Eclectus chicks tend to start saying their words within a few days if taught well within a set routine:
The first step for any training is to make the bird comfortable with your presence. So, it is always advised to be around the bird as much as possible. Let the bird get comfortable with your touch. Be soft in touch and voice to win the bird’s trust.
Eclectus are known to take a little time and get comfortable around their owners only after a week or so. Now is the time to start saying single words around them and repeat them daily. Use them in context to make it easier for the bird to memorize them with the association.
For example, say ‘good morning’ while greeting the bird first in the morning every day or ‘good night’ while putting him to sleep.
Slowly move on to small phrases as the bird matures and has learned most of the single words. And do not forget to keep repeating the old words while teaching the new ones.
Eclectus Parrot Behavior
Eclectus parrots are one of the rare parrot species when it comes to behavior. They are more reserved and shy, especially when they are just adopted. Even after opening up with their new family. They hardly like much commotion and noise. That said, they are playful and fun even with their subtle demeanor.
Are Eclectus Parrots loud?
Eclectus are one of those calm parrot species that spend hours at a perch simply observing the commotion around quietly. There is no inherent loudness to chirp or scream all day long. That said, their morning and evening contact calls can seem too loud to those not used to pet a parrot as large as them. With that lung capacity, it is irrational to compare their loudness levels to a budgie or a conure. Eclectus do not scream, they honk. But such a behavior can be disciplined by discouraging it through positive reinforcement.
Are Eclectus Parrots aggressive?
Other than going through a phase of hormonal changes, Eclectus parrots aren’t aggressive. It is only during the breeding season, their aggression kicks in. Compared with the male, the female Eclectus is more aggressive and territorial. Just like in the wild, their inherent need for guarding their nest aka cage flares up leading to such outbursts. If the pair is not breeding for the particular season, it is best to discourage such behavior by:
- Cutting out on foods high in carbohydrates and sugars;
- Serving more fresh produce;
- Eliminating all the mushy and cooked foods from the diet;
- Restricting their access to dark corners of the house or cage;
- Removing the nest box or happy hut play areas from their cage;
- Suppress the urge to nest by stop giving them newspaper to shred;
- Reducing the time duration for which they are exposed to light;
- Making them sleep at the appropriate time;
- Avoid the touch that makes them want to breed like patting, snuggling, or rubbing the beak.
Are Eclectus Parrots cuddly?
Eclectus parrots are affectionate species but when it comes to cuddles, they like to keep it minimal. The Eclectus parrot species is nowhere near many other parrots pieces when it comes to touching them. They do not like neck scratches, cuddling by scooping them or preening of the head/neck feathers. If attempted, all one would get back is the famous ‘Eclectus Parrot growling’ back at him. Riding on the shoulder or leaning against his owner is the kind of touch an Eclectus is comfortable with at the most. Anything more than this would often irritate the bird.
Eclectus Parrot Diet
An Eclectus Parrot diet in the wild mainly includes fruits, flowers, seeds, leaf buds, and unripened nuts. So, their diet must be on similar lines even in captivity. The mantra is to offer only the wholesome and fresh feed. Here’s a list of all the food items that can be served to an Eclectus while addressing the most frequently asked queries related to that food category:
To map the natural diet of the Eclectus in captivity, it is imperative to add some high-quality seeds or grains in his diet. Sprinkle some delectable seeds/grains like sunflower, safflower, pumpkin, barley, quinoa, or oats on their fruit or vegetable platter. This will not only add some nuttiness but also make them happy. But make sure to serve them soaked or sprouted to flush excess fat. Also, keep the quantity to the lowest as they can cause obesity in the bird.
Can Eclectus Parrot eat rice?
The Eclectus can surely eat table foods like rice or beans but only in moderation. Since such foods are high in carbohydrates and induce hormonal behavioral traits in the parrots, it is best to serve them occasionally. The best way to serve rice is to use the one with fiber, i.e. brown rice and refrigerate them for 10-12 hours after cooking. The refrigeration process has been scientifically proven to kill the majority of the carb content of the rice, thereby making the food item safer for the bird.
All the fresh produce that adds a lot of fiber to an Eclectus’ body is a must. This is because an Eclectus has an exceptionally long digestive tract which makes fiber a necessity for the bird. Lack of fibrous foods leads to a condition called Candidiasis in them. Add a lot of fibrous fruits like apples with the skin, pears, raspberries, mangoes, guava, oranges, strawberries, persimmon, et al. Serve all of them freshly cut and discard anything kept uneaten by the bird for more than 3-4 hours. Do not forget to wash them properly to get rid of any pesticides stuck to the surface.
Can Eclectus Parrot eat bananas?
Bananas are a safe fruit for Eclectus with no risky seeds or pits and just loads of fiber. Hence, it serves as a great food option for Eclectus parrots. Let the bird take the skin off himself as it helps them enjoy both the food item and the eating process.
Can Eclectus Parrots eat grapes?
Grapes can be served to Eclectus as they are safe and contain no seeds or pits as such. They are loaded with natural sugars and give an instant energy boost to the bird. That said, grapes should be served sparingly to the parrots due to their high fructose levels. Just one grape every day is sufficient.
Along with the fruits, vegetables are also a great source of fiber for Eclectus. Add green peas, sweet corn, beet greens, broccoli, carrots, cucumber, dandelion greens, green peppers, unsprayed lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, spinach, eggplant, and winter squash. Dice them or serve them as a puree or easy intake by the bird.
Can Eclectus Parrot eat parsley?
Parsley is a good source of vitamin B1, B2, and C along with loads of beta carotene, iron, and proteins. Hence, they are a storehouse of nutrients for parrots. Also, it is a completely safe food for parrots devoid of any toxins.
That said, let’s address the rumors of parsley being toxic and fatal to pet birds. This statement is far from the truth as evidence has shown that parsley is toxic only to ostriches and ducks as it causes them photosensitivity. This exposes them to various illnesses caused by the harmful Ultraviolet rays of the sun. But this is not the case with the pet birds, or more so any parrot species.
What Eclectus Parrot can’t eat?
An Eclectus must not be fed foods that contain any kind of acids as they are toxic for the sensitive digestive system of the bird. Foods that are loaded with lactic acid like dairy products, oxalic acid like tomatoes, or oleic acid like chocolate, must be served sparingly and in very low quantities. Some food items like rhubarb have such acids in such high levels that they can prove fatal to parrots. Hence, it is best to avoid them altogether.
Also, some food items like pitted fruits or the ones high in caffeine like coffee must never be served.
Do Eclectus Parrots eat meat?
Meat is a good source of complete protein profile for parrots and hence, can be served to the Eclectus as well. But make sure to cook it well sans any oil or spices to make it easy for the birds’ digestive system to break it down easily.
With more and more people curious to adopt this colorful parrot, there is a surge in queries surrounding the bird. An unusually calm and playful with a tinge of subtlety, Eclectus forms as great companions for those looking for a no-fuss pet bird. But always remember that Eclectus isn’t much of a fan of noise and party ambiance. This is the reason that they hardly do well in homes with small children. That said, the issue can be addressed by making the kids of the house be calm and gentle with the bird.
And lastly, Eclectus has been known to dismantle the locks of the hinges and accidentally swallow the metal washers. Many Eclectus parrots have reportedly died with such unfateful incidents. Make sure to remove the washers of the foraging toys, if any, or other such structures that might have washers or bolts in it. The safety of our pet bird is more of our responsibility than it is theirs’.