Facts and Knowledge: The brilliant plumage of the ecleutus parrot provides it with excellent camouflage from predators in its rain forest habitat. Strikingly beautiful birds, eclectus parrots live in the lowland rain forests of Pacific islands such as New Guinea. These parrots are thought to have been introduced to some islands by forest dwelling natives who kept them as pets.
Habits: Eclectus parrots are noisy, sociable birds that gather in large flocks of up to eighty. They fly very well and can climb trees with ease, using their beaks and feet grip the branches. The male is a stocky, medium sized bird with bright, glossy green feathers highlighted with red flashes on its sides and underneath its wings. The female is slightly smaller and has a bright red head, throat, and wings which contrast with her brilliant blue chest and purple under wings.
Food and Feeding: Like m most other parrots,
eclectus parrots are vegetarians. At sunrise, they leave their roosts in pairs
or small groups and feed in the tops of tall trees. They eat a wide range
of buds, blossoms, seeds, nuts, berries, fruit and nectar
When kept in captivity, eclectus parrots will eat large amounts of green vegetables in addition to fruit and nuts. The birds are strong flyers and will travel far from their roosting sites in search of food. Large numbers will congregate on bearing fruit trees. Both male and female eclectus parrots have strong, curved beaks adapted for climbing and cracking nuts and hard seeds. The males bright coloration helps him to blend with the lighter parts of the forest. He feeds the female when she is incubating eggs.
Breeding: The eclectus parrot has no regular breeding season. During courtship, the male pursues one female and attempts to get her attention by making excited squawking calls. When the female is ready to mate, she selects a nest site in a hole high up in the tall tree trunk. The entrance is usually about three inches across. She chews up pieces of wood with which to line the nest and makes a soft bed for the eggs. The female lays two eggs and incubates them without the help of the male. The male visits the nest at regular intervals during incubation and feeds the female with regurgitated food. The eggs hatch after 26 days, and the young fledge (grow feathers) and learn to fly at 12 weeks.
Did you know?
Newly hatched eclectus parrot chicks are covered with short, thick bristles which are replaced with fluffy, gray down after two or three days.
Males and female eclectus parrots are so different in color that they were at one time thought to have been two completely different species.
Of the over 300 members of the parrot family, only a third are actually called parrots. Other members are commonly known as parakeets, macaws, cockatoos, and lorikeets.
Parrots have two claws facing forward and two facing backward; this gives them a good grip for climbing trees.
Length: 14 in.
Wing Span: Up to 28 in.
Weight: Up to 16 oz.
Sexual Maturity: 3 years.
No. of Broods: 1, possibly more.
Breeding Season: Varies according to location and climate; may be almost continuous.
Eggs: White, 2 per clutch.
incubation period: 26 days.
Fledging period: About 85 days.
Habits: Sociable, roosting in large groups of up to 80 birds.
Diet: Treetop seeds, nuts, fruits, flowers, and leaves.
Lifespan: Probably 40 - 50 years.
Related Species: Including the African gray
parrot, Psittacus erithacus.
Distribution: New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and other islands. On some islands the birds may originally have been introduced as pets. Also Cape York Peninsula, Queens land, Australia.
Conservation: Populations have been effected by hunting and land clearing, but un many areas of the eclectus parrot's natural habitat, no conservation measures are yet in force.
Identifying the Eclectus Parrot:
Female: The contrasting colors of the male and female parrots plumage are thought to help them survive in their natural forest habitat where they may be in danger from birds of prey.
Males: spend much time seeking food in the treetops where their bright green plumage blends in well with the foliage. By contrast, females incubating in dark nest holes are less conspicuous as their red and blue feathers merge with the shadows. At six weeks, the Female Chick (left) is more colorful than the male chick (right) who is still a grayish color.