Eclectus Parrots

by Jean G.
(Seattle, WA)

Pilot on a stand in the kitchen

Pilot on a stand in the kitchen

I have two male Eclectus Parrots, Donald and Pilot. I love my guys, but I need to let people know out there that generalizations about this species always have exceptions.

Some articles and websites talk about Eclectus Parrots being very quiet. Pilot is exactly that, a very well mannered and quiet bird. I could live in an apartment with Pilot no problem.

My Donald is opposite in that regard. He is louder than just about any other parrot I've met. Most of the time he screams because I am leaving or I have gone to another part of the house where he can't see me. So actually he IS quiet, but only if I am in the room and he knows I'm not going anywhere.

There is no way I could ever live with a roommate nor in an apartment or condo situation again, unless all my neighbors were deaf! I adopted him at age 3 1/2, and he had been though three homes by then. He is now 7 1/2. I hope to have him the rest of his life.

He is also a very hormonal bird and can be aggressive to my other birds. He was re-homed to me because he began to attack his mate and she became terrified of him.

He regurgitates daily on his toys, which is messy to clean up. He mouths and is fixated on my hands and thumbs, so much so I have to remove him the second he starts messing with my hands. He has bit me numerous times, including through my upper lip and nose..these days I no longer put my face near his face.

He is fixated on pairs of shoes that are left on the floor and will attempt to mate with them. He will attempt to mate with me as well, usually my hands or arms, so for me I'd rather have him focus that on an inanimate object like a shoe sitting on the floor!

Once I gave him part of a TV dinner I was eating, and he toe-tapped for 24 hours. This is a serious condition that occurs in Eclectus, frequently caused by artificial ingredients or over supplementation of vitamins. I was lucky it stopped so quickly.

One of the toes on his foot involuntarily clenched and unclenched, making a tapping noise on the perch. He would pick up his foot and look at it, trying to figure out why this was happening. Many birds with this condition begin to chew their toes off to stop the involuntary movement, as it keep them from relaxing or sleeping.

In other words, Eclectus are very sensitive to different foods, and you have to make sure they get the best diet possible to prevent this! Both of my Eclectus guys pluck to some extent. Donald only slightly on his nape and his chest, and then there is Pilot.

Pilot I adopted a year ago at age 11. He is almost completely bald on his body, and she shreds his wing and tail feathers when he gets bored. He does not know how to play with parrot toys. He is an absolute love though, a sensitive bird but very bonded to me. He is not hormonal like Donald, though Donald is also bonded to me and feels he is my chaperon.

Some of Pilot's feather plucking might have been prevented with regular bathing in water...when I brought him home, he literally stank and had a bacterial infection from sharing his food and water bowls with the family dog. Birds should not be dirty and greasy!

Both Pilot and Donald love to go into the shower several times a week with me in the morning, then they air dry in my 68 degree house over the course of the afternoon.

Both of my birds are flighted, and I take Donald several times a month to a large hangar with a group of other parrot owners who fly their birds. He enjoys it immensely and it helps to dispell some of his pent-up energy.

Living with a flighted bird can take more effort, but it is healthier for the birds in the long run, as long as they get several hours a day to come out and fly.

I have found Donald a very precise and amazing flier in the house...he can change course and land in safe places easily by now. It takes birds several months or longer to get to that stage though, especially if they have always been clipped.

I find both my Eclectus very particular about going to the bathroom only where they think it's appropriate. They will not poop on me, which is nice...just in their cages or on a play gym or stand. They are smart birds, though it's hard to read their moods and some people incorrectly think they are less intelligent, because they are a bit less expressive.

They need full spectrum light to both see well and metabolize calcium from their food properly. Like African Greys, they can become calcium deficient and some babies are born with rickets and deformed skeletons if their parents aren't fed optimum diets.

Summary: Eclectus are advanced parrots. They are usually not cuddly per se' but love to be 'on you' or near you 'supervising'. Include them in your mealtimes!

They are more sensitive than some other species, needing owners who both include them in their daily activities and a relatively calm household, if they interact with children they need to be mature and patient children. Their bite can be hard. They absolutely need a good diet with daily fresh vitamin A rich vegetables and other quality foods such as sprouts and hard boiled eggs with shells.

Be careful to make sure any pellets you give them are not high in artificial ingredients or colors. They are prone to screaming, biting, toe-tapping, plucking and self-mutilation if neglected or abused. You need to consider that if your bird becomes hormonal or starts plucking, would you be able to love him just as much. Would I ever re-home my guys...never!

Comments for Eclectus Parrots

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Apr 09, 2016
Plucking eclectus parrots
by: Michelle Hancock

Hi have you try herbal tea has to be organic passionfriut tea has to be real weak these different types you can choose from I found this information on google it works so instead of water replace heabal tea like I said has to be weak calamine tea is another one you can buy from health food stores

May 06, 2015
loud but good bird
by: Anonymous

roco is 7 months old and insanely loud. when ever im around he is constantly screaming even if hes out of the cage and fully fed. He does have his nice side tho, if theres other people around to distract him he makes really nice quite sounds and is just starting to say hello. over all roco is a great bird and i love him but i hope like anything he grows out of his screaming stage

Feb 15, 2015
Ekkies Need Time, lots Of Love, great fresh food and
by: Anonymous

I've owned parakeets and cockatiels for many years but always wanted larger birds. Recently we got a male ekkie as well as an African Grey (girl). Two entirely different birds with hugely different personalities. I love the ekkie so much, he wants to be near you as much as possible and certainly is NOT a bird for those who want a bird to place in a cage and just feed seed to! Get a canary if this is you! The ekkie will thrive if you give him love and plenty of attention, and in turn you will be rewarded with a friend for life. Unlike a dog that will live around ten to fifteen years, your ekkie may outlive you, and this will certainly be the case if you give him good quality diet. They love sweet potatoes, grapes, bananas, broccoli, almonds, sunflower seeds and any fresh (spray and pesticide free) leafy greens. Harrison's pellets are excellent, I give ten to fifteen in the evening, along with a teaspoon of sunflower seeds. Careful with peanuts, no more the about 6/day - they can be fattening.

NEVER clip the wings of an ekkie! How would you like both your legs amputated and told you couldn't walk anymore! It's disgusting, and if you do you may very well be setting yourself up to fast-track your way to a problem bird.

Feb 14, 2014
Eclectus 1 and 2
by: Stan

I've shared my house with 2 Eclectus parrots-Sage, a male, and Ruby, a female, both the Soloman Island variety. It's been quite a journey that's covered 17 years. I first met them while visiting (with a friend) a lady that was weaning them for a breeder. I was never a bird person, but my heart melted when Ruby flew up to me and landed on my shoulder-and in her excitement, zest for life, and love, replied "I'm the one"!
Fast forward to 2014. Sage is a model bird-beautiful, friendly (to everyone) is quiet and always in a good mood, and loves life. Ruby, on the other hand, has been a difficult bird. She has cheated death 3 times-had surgery for a cyst, when she was 8 years old, and began picking her feathers at the area of the suture, and became a feather picker (Obsessive compulsive)for life. Later, she almost succumbed (twice)to egg binding. The two birds have been polar opposites of one another, but I've loved them as equals, regardless. What I can share with others that are contemplating bringing Eclectus into their lives is that parrots are a major investment in time, patience, and resources. They are messy and high maintenance, and many people apparently cannot fathom the criteria needed to accommodate the needs of parrots. That said, the rewards vs. the difficulties fall heavily in favor of keeping them, because they are loving entities that remind us of our own strengths, frailties, and need for personal responsibilities. They, like us are all individuals, but give them what they need, and they will teach us a lot about ourselves..

Sep 14, 2010
patiente et amour c est le secret
by: marie france

lola 1 an,je l'ai eu a 2 mois non sevree.L'eleveur s'en est debarassè il disait trop caracterielle.Beaucoup de cris et de morsures au dèbut,aujourd-hui elle parle elle me suit partout je suit son taxi,si elle ne me voit pas elle m'appelle et si je ne lui rèpond pas elle vient me chercher.Pour moi c'est mon cinquieme enfant.Des quelle se rèveille sa cage est ouverte et elle fait ce qu'elle veut sous ma surveillance et je vous rassure elle sait ce qu'elle veut et ou elle veut aller.On a des moments tres privilègies,le matin au rèveil tres gros calin,elle aime les gratouillis les caresses les gros bisous.Tout cela c'est fait avec du temps et ènormement de patiente ,dieu sait qu'il y a eu des bas.Confiance vous serez rècompenser.Si vous l'aimez il ne peut que vous aimez

Jun 24, 2010
help for Eclectus parrots
by: Anonymous

if your parrot is Screaming at you walk away and ignore him or her because you are the boss no an animal.Also put him into a time out
for a couple of mins.(10)When the animal is good praise him,when bad don't talk to him like be quite or shut up.If this helps you ,your pet will be loving as ever.

Dec 03, 2009
Just like children
by: Anonymous

I got Sadie when she was a baby from a friend who had matted their Parrots. She was hand fed, and is the best pet i have ever had. She is moody, she has began to pluck, and can be aggressive with others. She does cuddle with me, and even thought she has bitten me she understands when i have to discipline her by scolding her and putting her back in her cage. She does alot of screaming especially since i go in and out of the rooms constantly. I do spend quality time with her when i stand her on her living room perch, and she ginds her beak. She sings, and does talk, mostly mimicing sounds. I do let her out of her cage, and she walks around, and follows me around. She does get along with the dog and cat, but will be aggressive if she feels bothered. I do believe that some of her plucking began when she climbed onto the counter and tumbled the oil all over her. She was so greasy, and plain water/showeres did not help. I tried to use some baby shampoo, but i guess this developed into the plucking issue i now have. I LOVE MY SADIE, and even with out feathers she and i will be together, but please if you are not prepared to care for this smart, aggressive, moody, loving, caring bird, don't get one.

Aug 20, 2009
Male SI
by: Anonymous

I have an (at least) 3 homed Male SI, who is about 10 (from what I understand). He's been with me for about 3 years. He plucks a lot, but is usually a very polite and quiet bird. Loves to make noise when there is something else making noise. The lawnmower or vacuum cleaner always get him in a good mood.

He talks less and less the more I have him, and he won't eat any veggies or play with any bird toys unless they are food based. He took to my small dogs enough that he started trying to mate with one.

I'm not sure entirely how to give him a great diet when he won't eat a lot of the things he's supposed to. Greens/fruits, he shows little to no interest in unless they are dried fruits. He seems to only want seeds, pellets, and whatever I'm eating, or the dogs are eating. However, Pedro is comfortable sitting on my shoulder for hours at a time, even when I'm in the middle of moving. He's very affectionate, and turns his beaks to give me kisses. Now, when he is happy, he started making kissy noises.

Couldn't imagine giving him up, but as a plucker who doesn't like toys and isn't making much noise these days at all (especially talking), I wonder whether he's happy or whether I'm doing something wrong.

Feb 18, 2008
Good to hear....
by: Tony N

Jean, I'm so glad you are telling the truth about Eclectus. They are not for everyone, however. I love my 4 1/2 yr old who is moody, bossy and sometimes loud. He's nothing like the cockatoo we live with.

Billy Ray (male SI Eclectus) gets Harrison's Lifetime Course Pepper every morning (seven pellets - no more, no less). He gets organic fruits and veggies EVERY day. So far, we've had very little toe-tapping and no feather plucking. Part of this may be due to the fact that we restrict his food intake to prevent hormonal spikes. Pellets are restricted to once per day feeding while fruits and veggies are provided pretty much at all times.

He is a companion and member of my family. That said, many people should think twice before committing to thirty years of life with this animal. Eclectus are like no other parrot.

It breaks my heart to hear about re-homed birds like Jean's. She's doing a great job with her guys and a service to many Eclectus that might find their way into homes incapable of providing for their needs.

Thanks, Jean!


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