When you first see an Eclectus parrot, you are immediately struck by their beauty and then you are captivated by their sweet personality and amazing intelligence. If you are unfamiliar with the species and see a male and female together you would assume you are looking at two different types of birds. The truth is Eclectus are sexually dimorphic, with males being bright green with red feathers on the side of their body and a candy corn colored beak.
The females are mostly red, along with blue and purple on their body and wings. Females have an all black beak. These birds are great as companion pets because of their gentle, undemanding nature and they are known to be one of the quietest of parrots. Often learning to talk, they have a clear, understandable voice. Diet is an important issue with Ekkies (Eclectus) and we will discuss that.
There are 10 subspecies of Ekkies with four commonly kept as pets in the United States. These Eclectus include Solomon Islands (E. r. solomonensis), the red-sided (E.r. polycholoros), grand (E.r. roratus) and vosmaeri (E.r. vosmaeri). Two of these subspecies have blue eye rings, the Solomon Islands and the red-sided. The grand and vosmaeri do not have blue eye rings. The Solomon Islands eclectus is the most widely available of the four. They are the smallest of the four subspecies and considered to be one of the most gentle and docile. However, I hear good reports about all of them from their owners!
They are social birds, in that they enjoy being with their owner and their family, watching them and listening carefully. They enjoy interacting with you, responding with curiousity to your voice. Even though they do like to be part of the family, they are not demanding and are more independent than some parrots. Eclectus can entertain themselves with their toys and they like a swing. They also should have a spacious cage that is at least 24 by 36 by 48 inches high.
The feathers of this parrot is another interesting feature about them. They are hair-like in texture on the breast, belly, neck and head. Solid interlocked segments of feathers make up the upper body and wing feathers. Their feathers are shiny and brilliantly colored, as they reflect light off their surface. To keep their feathers in good condition, let your Eclectus bathe often, which is something they enjoy. Daily baths are the best scenario, if possible. Those that are not given a bath often resort to feather picking, as they are annoyed by dirty feathers. Of course, fresh drinking water should always be available.
A nutritious diet is extremely important for the eclectus parrot. Natural Vitamin A is a neccessity in their diet in order for them to thrive. This should be obtained by providing them with fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Supplementation of vitamin A is not required and it might create additional health problems, as eclectus are often sensitive to vitamin and mineral supplements. Give them a varied diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, sprouted seeds, beans, brown rice and various nuts and seeds. Concerning nuts, their beak is softer than most parrots and is unable to crack anything much harder than a peanut or pinenut. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, brazil nuts are all relished, but must be shelled first. Provide a cuttlebone for calcium. Eclectus love to eat, so they will readily try and consume most foods that you offer them. Though it requires a bit more effort, to prepare a proper diet for these wonderful birds, you will be rewarded with a beautifully feathered, healthy, alert and active parrot.