Eclectus ParrotScientific Name Eclectus roratus                         

Conservation Status Least Concern

Appearance

The eclectus parrot exhibits major differences between males and females. Males are a bright green colour with blue primary feathers and red flanks. Along the short tail is a band of yellow. The central tail feathers are green with those on the outer being blue. Their bill is orange on the upper mandible and black on the bottom. The toes and the feet are black.  Females are a crimson red with blue around the collar and around the bend of the wing. Orange tips complete the red tail which is yellow on the underside. Their entire bill is black.

Both sexes have a black eye. As juveniles both males and females have a brown upper mandible with yellow around the edges.

They measure between 40 and 45cm (15.7-17.7in) long. They weigh 397g to 425g (14-15oz). Their wingspan is between 20 and 25cm (8-10in) across.

Lifespan                                                                                  

Lifespan averages around 30 years but may be up to 40 years.

Diet

Eclectus parrots are herbivores. They feed upon fruits, seeds, nuts, berries, leaf buds, blossoms and nectar. Panadanus fruits are a particular favourite.

Habitat

The eclectus parrot is found throughout Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, Palau Islands, New Guinea, the northernmost Torres Strait Islands and in Australia’s far north in Queensland.

They make their home in the rainforest’s canopy, tree clumps in savannahs and eucalypt woodlands.

Reproduction

Breeding takes place between July and January. Mating pairs do not stay together for their entire life and birds will regularly get a new mate. Males pursue females by making an excited squawking call.

Nesting takes place in a tree hollow which sits in a clearing or at the edge of the forest. This is lined with wood chips on which the eggs are laid.

Eclectus ParrotFollowing the successful laying of an egg it takes 26 days for it to hatch. A pair of white eggs are laid. While the female incubates the egg she is fed by the male. Both parents tend to the chick with assistance from previous offspring.

At hatching their skin is covered with short, thick bristles that across a 3 day period will become grey down. Once these colour up it is possible to determine the bird’s gender.

It takes 11-12 weeks for the chicks to fledge. It will be another 2-3 years before they are sexually mature.

Behavior

Birds live in small flocks or pairs. During the day they flock to a feeding site with the size of flocks which gather there being determined by how many fruit trees are available. At night they may roost in groups of up to 80.

Predators of the eclectus parrot include possums, birds of prey and introduced species such as wild dogs.

Sounds made by the eclectus parrot include a chuckling and bell like noise. When feeding they make a ‘chu-wee’ noise and will screech while in flight.

Quick facts

In New Guinea their feathers are used as decorations by the local people.

The first scientists to encounter the male and female eclectus parrot believed they were separate species due to them being different in appearance.

Photo Credits

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Own Work

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By Kiril Kolev (originally posted to Flickr as Sipping Water) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons