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Choosing a Solomon Island Eclectus

By: Dr. Susan Clubb

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Of all the eclectus parrots, which tend to be independent and do not form as strong of bonds as other parrots, the Solomon Island eclectus is considered the tamest and most affectionate.

They are relatively talkative and, if given adequate attention, can make good companions, especially males. Females tend to be a little more aggressive. Eclectus are not as noisy as many other large parrot species but many learn to talk.

The life span of the Solomon Island eclectus is probably up to 30 years.

Appearance and Personality

Solomon Island eclectus are found on the Bismarck Archipelago and Solomon Islands. They are small eclectus and closely resemble red-sided eclectus. The male is a brilliant forest green. He has brilliant red patches on the sides and under wing coverts, blue bend to the wing and dark blue flight feathers. Males of the different subspecies are very difficult to identify visually but Solomon's are usually significantly smaller.

The female Solomon Island eclectus is brilliant red and looks like a small version of the red-sided eclectus. The head is red, and at the base of the neck where chest feathers begin and on the back, a blue band cuts across almost like a collar. The under-tail coverts are red and the tail is red. Like the red-sided, the Solomon Island hen has distinct blue eye rings. She has a black lower mandible, or beak, and the upper mandible is black.

Eclectus will often appear stoic but are interested in activities around them. They should always be provided with toys, especially wooden blocks or other toys that can be chewed, and branches from non-toxic trees. In order to ensure safety, companion eclectus should not be allowed unsupervised freedom in the home as they often encounter toxins or dangerous items.

Young eclectus should be socialized to many people and exposed to a variety of situations such as new cages, toys, visits to the veterinarian, handling by friends, wing and nail clips, etc. to avoid fear of novel situations.

Feeding

Eclectus do well when provided with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Their diet should be comprised of 75 to 80 percent fruits and vegetables and 20 to 25 percent pellets. Treats may be given in small amounts especially as rewards for good behavior. Fresh clean water must be provided every day. Vitamin supplements are not needed for birds that are eating a formulated and nutritionally rich diet.

Grooming

Routine bathing or showering is vital to maintaining good plumage and skin condition. The fine feathering of the eclectus is especially beautiful when they receive routine baths. Ideally birds should be taken outdoors on a warm day and lightly sprinkled and allowed to dry in the sun. Indoor birds can be misted or bathed in the shower and allowed to dry in a warm room or dried with a blow drier.

Care should be taken not to clip the wing feathers excessively. Clip only enough so the bird will glide to the floor.

Housing

Eclectus should be provided with as large a cage as possible, at least large enough to allow the bird to fully spread his wings. Appropriate toys should be provided.

Breeding

Breeding season and clutch size - Eclectus parrots are prolific breeders and many pairs will breed year round. The prominent breeding season is the spring. Females may be aggressive toward males. There are reports of eclectus breeding successfully until age 28.

Some eclectus breed in nest boxes and some breed on perches. Provide a Z-box, rectangular or vertical nest box approximately 18 inches by 18 inches by 24 inches. Females may stay in the box most of the time. Pine shavings make excellent nest material. Breeding cage should be as large as practical but at least 3 feet by 3 feet by 6 feet.

Eclectus are easy to hand rear and will do well on hand rearing formulas. The sexes can be distinguished at a very early age and the down tends to be black in female chicks and grey in males. At about 4 to 5 weeks, the head will take on a green or red cast as feathers emerge and tails feathers will begin to emerge verifying sex. Eclectus chicks must be handled very gently to avoid fearful or aggressive behavior.

Common Diseases and Disorders

The Solomon Island eclectus is a relatively healthy bird. The following diseases have been reported in this bird.

  • Feather picking
  • Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease
  • Polyoma virus infection
  • Psittacosis
  • Bacterial infections
  • Candida (yeast) infections
  • Ingestion of toxins such as heavy metals
  • Infertility and female aggression
  • Vitamin A deficiency

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