Eclectus parrots have to be one of my favorite exotic birds by far for reasons you will read in this article. They originally come from Australia and neighboring islands, New Guinea and Papau region.
They are one of the few parrots that are sexually dimorphic, which means you can tell gender by their color, boys being the emerald green and the girls are bright red and purple depending on the species, some have blue instead of purple.
There are 10 subspecies total in the world but only 4 here is the US: the red-sided Eclectus, the Vosmaeri Eclectus, the grand Eclectus and the Solomon Islands Eclectus parrots.
Their life span in captivity is 20-30 but in the wild up to 50 years. There is much controversy over the Eclectus diet and it has been theorized that their life span is shorter in captivity due to improper foods given to these parrots.
Eclectus parrots have also been labeled a “weaker immune system” exotic so special defenses should be a precaution.
Family Rating: As someone who has 3 kids it was important for me to find a bird that was good with children or anyone in my family for that matter and the Eclectus parrot is that bird. The males are known as the “happy go lucky” type and the females are more reserved and analyzes her surrounds often. They are great for families because they are somewhat low maintenance and can self-entertain. They aren’t needy or demanding..
Talkability/Noise Level: The Eclectus parrots talk very well and very clear. They can mimic different voices but their normal voice sounds like a little girl. They are in the top 5 of best talkers. Although they are not a loud bird when scared or excited they can let out a very high pitched scream.
Males are very sensitive and become upset or anxious with chaos around them. Females tend to tolerate loud and busy households better than males but neither really care for it. Other than that they are a pretty quiet parrot.
Cuddle Rating: The Eclectus parrot can be very affectionate especially the males but you must limit this type of interaction and keep it a more teacher/student relationship. They become very imprinted and bonded to their humans and will confuse the relationship for a more intimate one if you know what I mean.
The females aren’t as hormonal but affection with them is on their terms. She will generally pick her favorite person and that’s her everything. These birds are very smart and can learn tricks so better time spent with them instead of petting or cuddling you could be playing and teaching. They have a very inquisitive nature and love to learn.
Hypoallergenic: YES! The Eclectus parrots do not produce any feather dust because they have oil glands rather the dust glands so they are perfect for the individuals with allergies or asthma.
Diet: Because the diet is so controversial on Eclectus parrots I can only share my 15+ years’ experience of my own and that of many of my customers on this topic. An Eclectus parrot is sensitive to vitamin-A deficiency and needs more fiber in its diet than other parrots. Supplemental natural vitamin-A is a must.
They also have a digestive tract that is longer than usual which means the food they eat takes longer to digest. This allows them to be able to absorb low nutrient foods better than any other parrot species, which is the reason said for them to do so well on natural raw food diets and not so well over time on an enriched seed or just pelleted diets.
If fed 80% raw fresh foods then Eclectus will not need to drink a whole lot of water. They should get most of their moisture from the fresh fruits and veggies they eat. Here is a list that they have been known to eat in their homeland:
Pandanus (screw pine), Nonda Plum, Red Beech, Grewia Papuana Burret, Mackinlaya, Pirrungu, Hopbush, Micromelum Minutum, Dissiliaria Laxinervis
Brittlewood, Nasturtium Tree, Syzygium Bamagenese (myrtle family), Sarsaparilla Tree, Solitaire Palm, Livistona & Dicksonia Palms, Small-leaved Fire Vine, Crepe Myrtle, Cinnamonwood
If you can duplicate this then you are doing great by your Eclectus, if you can’t find these trees or roots the following list will be a tad easier to find at your local grocer here in the U.S.:
African Cucumber (horned melon, Kiwana), Broccoli and Broccolini and Leaves and Stems (broccoli leaves are very high in Vitamin A), Horned Melon (african cucumber, Kiwana), Kiwana (horned melon, african cucumber), Sea Buckthorn Berries, Artichoke
Beans (fresh, not dried), Beetroot and Leaves, more nutritional , Black Cabbage (type of kale), Bok Choy (any asian green), Borecole (type of kale), Capsicums and Seed, all colours (red is the highest in vitamin A, particularly seeds), Carrots and Carrot Tops (Slightly steam carrots to release beta-carotene. Over steaming or cooking can cause them to lose the beta-carotene. Carrot Tops raw), Cauliflower and Stem and Leave, Cayenne Chilli, Chard, Chilli and Seed, any (red is the highest in vitamin A), Choko, Cos Lettuce, Curly Lettuce (any other dark green or red lettuce), Cucumber (including skin and seed), Jalepeños, Jerusalem Artichoke (sunchoke), Kale, Lettuce (all, types except Iceberg), Okra, Pak Choy, Parsnips, Pumpkin and Seeds (Japanese and butternut are the sweeter ones and most favoured), Radish and Tops (can be grated to release anti oxidants), Red Giant Mustard Greens, Red Mignonette Lettuce, Red Mizuna, Rocket (and flowers), Silver Beet (not to be mistaken for Spinach), Snow Peas or Sugar Snap Peas, Sweet Potato, Squash (all types), Swede, Taro,Turnips and Turnip Tops (can be grated to release anti oxidants),Tuscan Cabbage (type of kale), Vine Spinach (known as spinach because of the leaf shapes), Yam (a true yam is not sweet potato), Zucchini
Asian Raisin (japanese raisin, hovenia), Achacha (seeds removed), Allspice Fruit, Bananas, Bellfruit (java apple, rose apple), Berries (any in season), Brazil Cherry (Grumichama), Brazil Grape (jaboticaba), Bush Lemon (Bush Food), Carambola (star fruit), Cherries (pitted),Coconut, Cottoneaster Berries, Crabapple Berries, Custard Apple (sugar apple) (seeds toxic, in Brazil the seeds are made into an insecticide), Dragon Fruit (pitaya), Dua gan (Korean Melon) and seeds, Durian, Dates, Desert Lime (Bush Food), Feijoa Fruit, Figs (Although they’re eaten by wild Eclectus, our captive Eclectus are not as active and fit as a wild Eclectus), Finger Lime (Bush Food), Guava and Seed, Goji Berry, Grumichama (Brazil Cherry), Hawthorn Berries, Honeydew Melon, Hovenia (japanese raisin, asian raisin), Jaboticaba (brazillian grape), Japanese Raisin (asian raisin, hovenia), Jackfruit, Java Apple (bellfruit, rose apple), Kiwi Fruit, Kiwi Berry, Korean Melon (Dua Gan) and seeds, Kumquat, Lychee, Loquat, Mango, Mangosteen, Momblin Fruit, Marrow, Mulberry, Nashi Pear and Seed, Nondu Plum, Passion Fruit, Paw Paw (Asimina), Papaya and Seeds , Pears and Seeds (all colours and varieties), Persimmons, Piel De Sapo Melon, Pineapple, Pitaya (yellow dragon fruit), Plums, Apricot, Peaches (when in season and pips removed), Pomegranates, Quandong (Bush Food), Quince, Rambuton, Raspberry, Rockmelon and Seeds, Rose Apple (java apple, bellfruit), Salak (snake fruit), Santol, Sapote Fruit, Soursop, Snake Fruit (salak), Star Fruit (carambola), Sugar Apple (custard apple), Tamarind, Tamarillo, Watermelon and Seeds, Wild Peach (Bush Food), Youngberry
So to say an Eclectus diet is “restrictive” because of the no artificial foods or vitamin fortified parrot food at the pet store not hardly with a list of options mentioned above. They may be specialized but not limited. They are actually lots of fun to feed because they love food. Sprouting your seeds is another great way to get the most bio nutrients out of seeds.