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Eclectus Parrot

Eclectus Parrot

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Species Organizations

National Audubon Society
Website: www.audubon.org
Cornell Lab of Orinthology
Website: www.birds.cornell.edu
The Avian Web
Website: www.avianweb.com

Classification
Order Psittaciformes, Family Psittacidae
Scientific Name
Eclectus Roratus
Other Common Names
N/A
Species Description
The Eclectus Parrot is unusual in the parrot family for its marked sexual dimorphism of the colors of the plumage. The male is mostly bright green with a blue or red tail and wing feathers; while the female is mostly red with a blue/purple abdomen. The upper mandible of the adult male is orange at the base fading to a yellow towards the tip, and the lower mandible is black. The beak of the adult female is all black. Adults have yellow to orange irises and juveniles have dark brown to black irises. The upper mandible of both and male and female juveniles are brown at the base fading to yellow towards the biting edges and the tip.

The diet of the eclectus in the wild consists of mainly fruits, unripe nuts, flower and leaf buds, and some seeds. Two favorite fruits are the pomegranate and the papaya (pawpaw) with seeds. In captivity, they will eat most fruits including mangos, figs, guavas, bananas, any melons, stone fruits (peaches etc), grapes, citrus fruits, pears and apples.

The following ten Eclectus parrot subspecies have been determined:

Grand Eclectus (Eclectus roratus roratus)
Solomon Island Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus solomonensis)
New Guinea Red-sided Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus polychloros)
Australian Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus macgillivrayi)
Vosmaer's Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus vosmaeri)
Aru Island Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus aruensis)
Westerman's Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus westermani)
Sumba Island Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus cornelia)
Tanimba Islands Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus riedeli)
Biak Island Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus biaki)


Habitat
In its natural habitat, the Eclectus nests within hollows in large, emergent rainforest trees.

Distribution
The Eclectus Parrot, Eclectus roratus, is a parrot native to the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, northeastern Australia and the Maluku Islands (Moluccas).

Captivity
Eclectus parrots are one of the more popular birds kept in captivity, as either parent or hand reared. Unlike many other species of parrot they are relatively easy to breed yet difficult to hand feed. Nonetheless the frustration of hand rearing an eclectus parrot can easily be outweighed by their character and companionship if imprinted properly. For Eclectus in captivity, they require vegetables high in beta-carotene, such as lightly cooked sweet potato, fresh broccoli clumps, and fresh corn on the cob. Fresh greens such as endive or commercial dandelion are a very important in providing calcium and other nutrients. These birds should not be fed avocado, chocolate, or high fat junk foods such as French fries and commercially processed human foods such as pizza. Parrots are unable to digest the lactose in milk. Spray millet is one of the seed items they enjoy. A variety of soaked and cooked beans and legumes, along with brown rice, provided in limited amounts help provide protein to the Eclectus diet. Nuts and seeds provide vitamin E, but should be limited in order to avoid too much fat in the diet, as Eclectus parrots can become obese.

One must avoid feeding an Eclectus fortified foods such as pellets, breads, pastas, etc. The Eclectus is sensitive to food additives, food coloring agents and man-made vitamins. Feeding commercial fortified products can lead to muscle spasms known as toe-tapping and wing flipping, as well as allergic reactions including severe itchiness leading to feather and skin damage.


Summary
Parrots, also known as psittacines, are birds of the roughly 372 species in 86 genera that make up the order Psittaciformes, found in most warm and tropical regions. The order is subdivded in three families: the Psittacidae (true parrots), the Cacatuidae (cockatoos) and the Nestoridae. Parrots have a pan-tropical distribution with several species inhabiting the temperate Southern Hemisphere as well. The greatest diversity of parrots is found in South America and Australia.

Characteristic features of parrots include a strong curved bill, an upright stance, strong legs, and clawed zygodactyl feet. Most parrots are predominantly green, with other bright colors, and some species are multi-colored. Cockatoo species range from mostly white to mostly black, and have a mobile crest of feathers on the top of their heads. Most parrots are monomorphic or minimally sexually dimorphic. Extant species range in size from the Buff-faced Pygmy-parrot, at under 10 g (0.35 oz.) in weight and 8 cm (3.2 inches) in length, to the Hyacinth Macaw, at 1.0 meter (3.3 feet) in length, and the Kakapo, at 4.0 kg (8.8 lbs) in weight. They are the most variably sized bird order in terms of length.

The most important components of most parrots' diets are seeds, nuts, fruit, buds and other plant material, and a few species also eat insects and small animals, and the lories and lorikeets are specialised to feed on nectar from flowers, and soft fruits. Almost all parrots nest in tree holes (or nestboxes in captivity), and lay white eggs from which emerge altricial (helpless) young.

Parrots, along with crows, jays and magpies, are some of the most intelligent birds, and the ability of some parrot species to imitate human voices enhances their popularity as pets. Trapping of wild parrots for the pet trade, as well as other hunting, habitat loss and competition from invasive species, have diminished wild populations, and parrots have been subjected to more exploitation than any other group of birds. Recent conservation measures to conserve the habitats of some of the high-profile charismatic parrot species has also protected many of the less charismatic species living in the ecosystem.


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