Eclectus Parrot

Eclectus roratus

The Eclectus Parrot is a parrot native to the Solomon Islands, Sumba, New Guinea and nearby islands, northeastern Australia and the Maluku Islands. It is unusual in the parrot family for its extreme sexual dimorphism of the colours of the plumage; the male having a mostly bright emerald green plumage and the female a mostly bright red and purple/blue plumage.
Female red-sided eclectus parrot  Eclectus Parrot,Eclectus roratus,Geotagged,Papua New Guinea


The Eclectus Parrot is unusual in the parrot family for its marked sexual dimorphism in the colours of the plumage. A stocky short-tailed parrot, it measures around 35 cm in length.

The male is mostly bright green with a yellow-tinge on the head. It has blue primaries, and red flanks and underwing coverts. Its tail is edged with a narrow band of creamy yellow, and is dark grey edged with creamy yellow underneath, and the tail feathers are green centrally and more blue as they get towards the edges.

The Grand eclectus female is mostly bright red with a darker hue on the back and wings. The mantle and underwing coverts darken to a more purple in colour, and the wing is edged with a mauve-blue.

The tail is edged with yellowish-orange above, and is more orange tipped with yellow underneath. 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 male and female juveniles are brown at the base fading to yellow towards the biting edges and the tip.

The above description is for the nominate race. The abdomen and nape of the females are blue in most subspecies, purple abdomen and nape in the subspecies and lavender abdomen and nape in the subspecies from the north and central Maluku Islands, and red abdomen and nape in the subspecies from Sumba and Tanimbar Islands.

Females of two subspecies have a wide band of yellow on the tail tip, "riedeli" and "vosmaeri" which also have yellow undertail coverts. The female "vosmaeri" displays the brightest red of all the subspecies, both on the head and body.
Male Red-Sided Eclectus Parrot New Guinea sub-variety of Eclectus roratus.   Eclectus Parrot,Eclectus roratus,New Guinea,Papua New Guinea,bird,nature,polycholoros


There are nine subspecies of Eclectus Parrots, although the species as a whole needs reviewing. Access to some regions where the species occurs is difficult due to geographical or political reasons, and hence field observations have been limited.
Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus) female photographed at the Kuranda Bird Sanctuary in far north queensland these amazing parrots natural habitat in the wild is in the rainforest of eastern cape yorke peninsula in a relatively small area but are found all over the pace being a popular aviary zoo and pet bird the stunning red of the female matched by the emerald green of the male  Australia,Birdworld Kuranda,Eclectus Parrot,Eclectus roratus,Geotagged,australia,cape yorke peninsula,far north queensland,rainforest


In its natural habitat, the Eclectus nests within hollows in large, emergent rainforest trees. Suitable hollows are at a premium and the hen will vigorously defend her chosen nesting site from other females, remaining resident at 'her tree' for up to 11 months of the year, rarely straying from the entrance to her hollow and relying on multiple males to feed her via regurgitation.

Males may travel up to 20 km to forage and up to five males will regularly provide food for each female, each competing with the others for her affections and the right to father her young.

Unlike other parrot species, Eclectus parrots are polygynandrous—females may mate with multiple male suitors and males may travel from nesting site to nesting site to mate with multiple females. This unique breeding strategy may explain the pronounced sexual dimorphism of the Eclectus, as it is the female which must remain conspicuous at the entry to the nest hole, but well hidden when in the depths of the nest, because the red color hides her well in the darkness.

The male is primarily a green color, likely for the purpose of camouflage amongst the trees whilst foraging. However, the plumage of both sexes appears spectacular when viewed in the ultraviolet spectrum, an ability which predators such as hawks and owls lack.

Two white 40.0x31.0 mm eggs are laid, which are incubated for 28–30 days. Young fledge at about 11 weeks of age. Although Eclectus Parrots may reach sexual maturity earlier or later, they usually reach it between 2–3 years.

Eclectus hens have a strong maternal instinct and will constantly seek possible nesting spaces, climbing into cupboards, drawers and spaces beneath furniture and becoming very possessive and defensive of these locations.

An unpaired hen will often go on to lay infertile eggs with little encouragement in the spring. It is often possible to place abandoned eggs from other parrot species beneath a broody Eclectus hen, which she will readily accept and then happily incubate to the point of hatching.

Adult females with poor nest hollows often commit infanticide on male, if they laid a male and a female chick. They have a habit of flooding in heavy rain, drowning the chicks or eggs inside.
Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus) male photographed at the Kuranda Bird Sanctuary in far north queensland  Australia,Birdworld Kuranda,Eclectus Parrot,Eclectus roratus,Geotagged,australia,far north queensland


The diet of the eclectus in the wild consists of mainly fruits, wild figs, unripe nuts, flower and leaf buds, and some seeds.

Two favorite fruits are the pomegranate and the papaya with seeds. In captivity, they will eat most fruits including mangos, figs, guavas, bananas, any melons, stone fruits, grapes, citrus fruits, pears and apples.

The eclectus has an unusually long digestive tract and this is why it requires such a high fiber diet. In captivity the eclectus parrot does benefit from a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, leafy greens such as endive and dandelion, as well as a variety of seeds, including spray millet, and a few nuts such as shelled almonds and shelled walnuts.


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Status: Least concern
SpeciesE. roratus