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 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 colored a gorgeous rich red, almost a purplish red. The actual feathers on these birds are also unique. There is a distinct hair-like quality to them which is quite apparent upon close examination.
About Eclectus Parrots
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.
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 that absorbs and stores additives thereby making them prone to dietary toxicity. Eclectus food should not contain supplements such as vitamins, minerals, artificial colors or preservatives.
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 at this location, 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.
Because of the Eclectus parrot's tendency to become obese if fed excess seed in captivity, keepers of these birds should minimize or eliminate these food items in the daily Eclectus diet. Instead, a wide range of clean, washed fresh fruits and vegetables should make up the bulk of the diet. Good Eclectus parrot 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, Swiss chard and sprouts from mung beans and grey sunflower are ideal food items to mix together in small pieces. The more variety, the better. To supplement this diet, a portion of lightly cooked corn makes an excellent addition. 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 bird foods provide a good base diet, good Eclectus food doesn't end there, especially for breeding aviary birds. Dandelion, including the roots and flowers, are usually relished by Eclectus parrots, and dandelion greens are becoming increasingly available in organic markets. 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 Eclectus Food Considerations
Veterinary literature sometimes notes the tendency for these birds to be deficient in Vitamin A, but over supplementing this vitamin in a synthetic form can also result in dietary problems. 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.
Commercial diets as Eclectus food also have their place on the menu, and several successful keepers of these birds have done well with feeding Roudybush Maintenance diet and Harrisons High Potency Coarse Pellets to the feed bowl.
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 require specialty bird food diets, over and above that of other parrots, to maintain good health, beautiful plummage and to feel good enough to have a disposition that makes these beautiful parrots fun to be around.
In the wild Australian rainforest, Eclectus Parrots eat seeds, nuts, berries, fruits, leaf buds, blossoms, and nectar devoid of man made preservatives and vitamin or mineral supplements. You can't find these bird food ingredients at your local grocery store or health food store.
Eclectus parrots are especially sensitive to artificial preservatives, artificial 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 yucky, itches, picks it's own feathers 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.
Besides a good seed mix, fruits and green foods are essential to keep the Eclectus Parrot healthy! The Eclectus Parrot digestive tract is adapted to a fibrous diet and if deprived, they may develop Candidiasis. Eclectus Parrot are also extremely sensitive to bird foods with vitamin and preservative additives. We've found a handful of Eclectus Specialty Bird Food diets.