The Eclectus Parrot, Eclectus roratus, is a parrot native to the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, northeastern Australia and the Maluku Islands (Moluccas). It is unusual in the parrot family for its extreme sexual dimorphism. The males of the species are bright green, having bright candy-corn-coloured upper mandibles and black lower mandibles, and blue or red tail and wing feathers; while the females have red heads and blue to purple breasts, with black beaks. Joseph Forshaw, in his book Parrots of the World, noted that the first European ornithologists to see Eclectus Parrots thought they were of two distinct species. Large populations of this parrot exist in Papua New Guinea, where they are sometimes considered pests for eating fruit off trees. Their bright feathers are also used by native tribespeople as decorations.
The diet of the eclectus in the wild consists of mainly fruits, unripe nuts, flower and leaf buds, and some seeds. Two favorite fruits are the pomegranate and the papaya (pawpaw) with seeds. In captivity, they will eat most fruits including mangos, figs, guavas, bananas, any melons, stone fruits (peaches etc), grapes, citrus fruits, pears and apples.
Eclectus parrots are one of the more popular birds kept in captivity, as either parent or hand reared. Unlike many other species of parrot they are relatively easy to breed yet difficult to hand feed. Nonetheless the frustration of hand rearing an eclectus parrot can easily be outweighed by their character and companionship if imprinted properly. For Eclectus in captivity, it is also advisable to provide vegetables high in beta-carotene, such as lightly cooked sweet potato, fresh broccoli clumps, and fresh corn on the cob. Fresh greens such as endive or commercial dandelion are a very important in providing calcium and other nutrients. These birds should not be fed avocado, chocolate, or high fat junk foods such as French fries and commercially processed human foods such as pizza. Yogurt is the only dairy product which parrots can digest. Spray millet is one of the seed items they enjoy. A variety of soaked and cooked beans and legumes, along with brown rice, provided in limited amounts help provide protein to the Eclectus diet. Nuts and seeds provide vitamin E, but should be limited in order to avoid too much fat in the diet, as Eclecti can become fat.
One must avoid feeding an Eclectus fortified foods such as pellets, breads, pastas, etc. The Eclectus is sensitive to food additives, food coloring agents and man-made vitamins. Feeding commercial fortified products can lead to muscle spasms known as toe-tapping and wing flipping, as well as allergic reactions including severe itchiness leading to feather and skin damage.