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Eclectus Parrots

Solomon Island Eclectus

(Pronounced “ek-lek-tus”) Calm, peaceful and serenely elegant, Eclectus parrots are incredibly beautiful birds that love to be admired. We raise only Solomon Island Eclectus, Eclectus roratus solomonensis, the smallest and most emotionally stable of the Eclectus parrot family. Also known as 'the furry parrot', Eclectus parrots have feathers on their heads that don't "zip up" like wing feathers do, giving them a soft furry appearance. The females are bright blood red with darker maroon wings. Solomon Island Eclectus females have a distinct dividing line on their breasts - the upper portion is blood red, the lower portion is royal blue, extending across their bellies and under their wings. These Eclectus also have a beautiful electric blue eye ring that looks like they use eyeliner make up. Their beaks are totally black. Solomon Island Eclectus males are electric grass green with crimson red under their wings against a black background. They have cobalt blue primary flight feathers. One of the most striking features of the male Eclectus parrot is his magnificent beak that looks like candy corn, being a bright orange at the top near his cere, fading to yellow at the beak tip. These beautiful parrots are found in the Solomon Islands as well as the Admiralty Islands and the Bismarck Archipelago in the South Pacific (near Papua and New Guinea).

Solomon Island Eclectus parrots are around 12 inches in length and weigh 375-400 grams.

Eclectus parrots are stable, easy going, calm, peaceful and quiet. They are so beautiful and can sit so still, a question we often hear is, "Are they real?" While some are reluctant, shy or infrequent talkers, some can develop excellent vocabularies and speak very clearly. Eclectus parrots can be kept singly, or in pairs. Unlike many other parrot species, if kept as a pair they keep their pet quality and friendliness towards people. They are relatively tranquil birds who are not as destructive as most species. Eclectus parrots tend to be very gentle with their beaks and will seldom bite hard. They are detail-oriented and love toys with lots of different textures and small details.

There are some tricks to handling Eclectus, mostly the females. In the wild, when the females are on eggs they rarely leave their nest, relying entirely on their mates to provide them with food. Sitting in the dark all the time, the females have developed the habit of daydreaming. If startled in the nest by someone other than her mate, or caught off guard while daydreaming sitting on a perch, the females will attack viciously to defend themselves (in the wild they must guard their nest against predatory snakes). In captivity this is important to know because the females (and males to some extent) will still daydream, even when sitting on a perch with things going on around them. It is important (and certainly more polite) to get their attention by speaking to them and making sure they are aware of your presence before offering your hand for them to step up to avoid getting a startled bite. Female Eclectus parrots will ferociously defend any area that they think may be a nest such as a dark carrier, under the bed, a box or a dark closet. Keep your female Eclectus away from cozy dark places she might think of as a nest so she will not have anything to defend. When startled or when defending her nest, a female Eclectus parrot will bite very hard and not let go.

Eclectus parrots have the longest digestive tract for their size of any of the parrots. They tend to have a larger proventriculus for digesting the larger quantities of vegetables that they love. They need lots of fresh vegetables and extra calcium in their diets. They also should not be fed artificially colored foods, as they tend to molt in bright yellow feathers from the stress of processing the food coloring. Eclectus parrots are also more prone to food sensitivities than many other species, and that can lead to distress, toe tapping and potentially to feather picking.

Eclectus parrots are a little more emotionally and environmentally sensitive than most other parrots. They don’t like stressful, chaotic activity around them. Eclectus are introverted (thinking) birds that internalize everything. Consequently, they do not do well in a household with small children. If an Eclectus becomes overly distressed, it can become quite neurotic and may develop unhealthy habits such as feather picking and excessive screaming. To complicate matters, a few individual Eclectuses are not happy without a mate. However, since they are one of the few breeds that will remain friendly when paired, this is not an insurmountable problem. Indeed, some people prefer to have both the male and the female so that the remarkable beauty of the species is fully represented.

One more thing: Eclectus do not grip strongly with their feet and do not do well on slick manzanita perches.

Eclectus, while potentially more difficult, are wonderful birds that bring with them calm, gentle spirits. They are a joy to have around, and are wonderful companions.

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