The strikingly beautiful Eclectus parrot is truly a "bird of a different feather" when compared to many other popular pet bird species. Native to the Solomon Islands, Sumba, New Guinea, the Moluccas, and northeastern Australia, there are several subspecies of this colorful parrot, although the exact number is a subject of debate.
The most obvious difference between Eclectus parrots and many other parrot species is their dramatic sexual dimorphism. While most parrot species are monomorphic (males and females appearing identical), the dimophic Eclectus parrots have males with bright green plumage and females are agorgeous rich red. The actual feathers on these birds are also unique. There is a distinct hair-like quality to them which is visible upon close examination.
About Eclectus Parrots Behavior
The behavior of these birds is also noticeably different, with most Eclectus having a somewhat stoic demeanor. They often stand upright and are rather sedentary compared to other parrot species of similar size. Many people who keep these birds also notice that they use their feet less often when feeding and playing, although they are certainly capable climbers.
The Eclectus Diet
With these unusual traits, it should hardly come as a surprise that Eclectus parrots also have dietary needs that separate them from other parrots. The Eclectus Parrot has a unique, relatively long digestive system so the bird tends to absorb and store nutrients more effectively than other birds. They need diet that is free from synthetic ingredients, additives, preservatives and dyes. Opt for organc, pesticide free fruits and vegetables. The symptoms of toxicity include feather discoloration, fether picking and "tic like" body movements like toe tapping and wing flapping.
While many common pet parrot species feed on the ground in the wild, the Eclectus Parrot is a bird of the treetops. Fruits and blossoms are eaten up high, but the birds encounter seeds much less often than an African grey, Amazon, cockatoo or macaw might in the wild. Wild Eclectus parrots have been known to feed on sandpaper figs, hawthorn, pyracantha berries and the colorful blossoms of bottlebrush shrubs.
Eclectus parots have a tendency to become obese since they are often feed a seed only diet. Only 20-25% of an Eclectus diet should be seed and/or organic pellets. The majority of its food should be a wide range of clean, washed fresh sprouts, fruits and vegetables.
Appropriate fresh foods include carefully washed apple, pear, strawberries, banana, kiwi fruit, grapes, as well as vegetables such as bell pepper, snow peas, green beans, sweet peas, carrot, celery, beets, and Swiss chard. Soak sprouts of mung beans and grey sunflower. Chop a large variety of fresh fruits, veggies and sprouts into small peices in a food processor to encourage your parrot to eat a variety versus one or two favorites. Again, the more variety, the better. Its a good idea to add small portion of lightly cooked corn. A smaller amount of soaked and sprouted legumes and brown rice will also add variety and nutritional value. Provide these foods at a routine time and use the same basic ingredients daily, adding a small amount of seasonal offerings to provide variety.
While the above fresh foods provide a good base diet, breeding birds may benefit from dandelion, including the roots and flowers. Special treats such as guavas, figs, pomegranates, passion fruit, melon, papaya and mango are also rich in nutrients. Many Eclectus especially enjoy mangos and spend considerable time chewing the large seed. Eclectus also enjoy chilis in moderation. Other seasonal favorites include cherries, blueberries, cranberries and various squash.
Important Dietary Considerations for Eclectus Parrots
Veterinary literature sometimes notes the tendency for these birds to be deficient in Vitamin A, but over supplementing any vitamins in a synthetic form can also result in illness. Instead, Eclectus owners should rely on the items in a fresh diet. Beta carotene (the precursor to vitamin A) is found in many common vegetables, such as peppers, sweet potatoes and dark, leafy greens such as chard or commercially grown dandelion greens. Make these items part of the diet.
Organic pellets such as Harrison's Blends as Eclectus food also have their place on the menu, Many breeders and Eclectus experts promote Volkman Eclectus Food,
Think variety and fresh ingredients when mixing and feeding Eclectus food. By providing Eclectus the foods outlined here, they will thrive in captivity and become rewarding pets.
Eclectus parrots are especially sensitive to artificial preservatives and dyes, synthetic vitamins, and artificial minerals. Beautiful and intelligent Eclectus Parrots require a vegan like diet that their sensitive bodies can assimilate. Artificial ingredients, food colorings, and preservatives result in a bird that feels ill, itches, picks it's own feathers, displays tic like behavior and is plain old miserable. Feed your Eclectus Parrot well. Supplement any Eclectus parrot bird food diet with a huge variety of organic vegetables, fruits grains and nuts. Consult your avian veterinarian if your parrot