Basic Information Sheet: Eclectus Parrot

Eclectus parrot – Eclectus roratus

Eclectus

Natural history


The Eclectus is a native of Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and/or the Solomon Islands. This species has also been introduced to Palau. Eclectus parrots have an extremely large range, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists their conservation status as “least concern”.


Taxonomy



Class: Aves

Order: Psittaciformes

Family: Psittacidae

Eclectus roratus

E. r. roratus – Grand eclectus parrot

E. r. polychloros – Red-sided eclectus parrot

E. r. solomonensis – Soloman Islands eclectus parrot

E. r. vosmaeri – Vasmaeri electus parrot


Physical description


The Eclectus parrot is a medium-sized parrot measuring 12-14.5 in (31-37 cm) in length. The iris is grayish.


Sexual dimorphism


The Eclectus parrot is the most distinctive example of sexual dimorphism in the bird world. In fact for many years, biologists believed these birds to be two different species. The male is mainly green, while the female is a bright, ruby red.


Diet


  • The diet of the free-ranging Eclectus consists mainly of fruits, figs, nuts, flower and leaf buds, as well as some seeds.
  • Feed companion birds a varied diet including a formulated diet, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Since psittacines hull seeds before ingestion, they do not require grit. In fact, some individuals will overeat grit when ill putting them at risk for impaction.
  • All-seed diets are deficient in protein, vitamins, and minerals including calcium and vitamin A.


Husbandry


  • Many texts suggest a minimum cage size of 24 x 36 x 48 in (61 x 91 x 122 cm), however Eclectus parrots need plenty of room to play and climb so bigger is much better.
  • Cage bar spacing should range from 0.75-1.5 in (1.9-3.8 cm).
  • Perch diameter should measure approximately 1 in (2.5 cm).
  • Unless birds are exposed to natural light, consider offering a full-spectrum light to reduce the risk of vitamin D deficiency.


Behavior


  • Highly intelligent, relatively quiet birds.
  • Sexual dimorphism may extend to behavior and ease of training. Female Eclectus behavior may range from assertive to aggressive so these birds are only recommended for experienced companion parrot owners. Males can sometimes be more timid.
  • Foraging is an important part of normal daily parrot activity. Teach and encourage pet birds to play and forage.


Normal physiologic values


Heart rate (beats/min)340-600107.1 F
Respiration (breaths/min)Approximately 25-45
Body weight (g)375-550
Life expectancy (years)30-40Maximum life span  reported:  50-60y
Sexual maturity (years)4-6
Weaning ageApproximately 3 months inOther subspecies wean between 4.5-6 months of age.Weaning age varies with the individual, and should never be based on a pre-determined time period.
Solomon Island Eclectus
Fledgling age (days)72-80
Mean number of incubation days28-30
Average number of eggs laid2 (1 in rare instances)
Target environmental temperatureMimic natural environmentHousehold temperatures of 70-80°F (21-27°C) are generally acceptable, however healthy birds can tolerate hot and cold temperatures.
*Routine avian examination generally does not include measuring temperature.


Anatomy and physiology


Eclectus plumage lacks barbules, which gives their feathers a softer appearance.

Anatomic traits of Order Psittaciformes include:

  • Communication of the right and left nasal sinus
  • The only avian tongue with intrinsic muscles
  • Simply syrinx
  • Craniofacial hinge of beak is a synovial joint
  • Ceca absent
  • Gall bladder often absent
  • Zygodactyl foot:  two toes pointed backward and two pointed forward


Restraint


Eclectus parrots may be restrained by holding the thumb and forefinger under the mandible and securing the outer wing with the remaining three fingers. Use the opposite hand to hold the feet.


Venipuncture


Use a 25-gauge needle and a 1 or 3-mL syringe to draw blood from the right jugular vein.  Collection of up to 1% of body weight is acceptable in healthy patients.


Preventive medicine



Injections


Intramuscular (IM)Reasonably safe, most accurate.Inject middle of muscle mass.Ideal location –Pectoral muscle mass
Subcutaneous (SQ)Large volumes can be injected, poor absorption.Location:  Inguinal or precrural fold
IntravenousEffective, narrow safety range.Right jugular vein or brachial vein is most commonly used.Alternative option: superficial metatarsal vein.


Important medical conditions


  • Avian polyomavirus
  • Constricted toe syndrome
  • Feather destructive behavior
  • Hypovitaminosis A
  • Psittacine beak and feather disease

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References