Health & Care
For the Birds Parrot Rescue & Sanctuary
Special Diet - Eclectus Parrots
Eclectus are not monogamous; a female will find a nesting hole which she will fiercly defend. She will not leave her nest unattended for fear it will be taken over by another female, so she sits and waits for the males (yes plural) to come and feed her. Males, on the other hand cover a good bit of territory going from female-to-female feeding them in the hopes of being allowed to mate. Given this lifestyle it's no wonder they have to make do with little nutrition.
Eclectus have a unique digestive tract from other parrots. Some will claim it's longer but it is not; it's reported that the villi within the intestine are longer which increases the surface area so more is absorbed from the food as it passes through. Since they extract more nutrients from what they eat, feeding this parrot vitamin supplements can result in health issues.
Eclectus parrots are unique in other ways as well. Some eclectus owners report their birds display a repetitive flipping of their wings or tapping of their toes. It appears to be an involuntary muscle spasm and is an indication that something is off, likely something with the diet. Wing flipping and toe tapping is believed to be very uncomfortable and exhausting for an eclectus and should never be ignored or allowed to continue without trying to determine its cause, especially since it is a symptom that could advance into a much more serious health condition.
The actual cause of this phenomenon is unknown but it's believed by many to be associated with feeding artificial vitamins and minerals and foods with artificial colorings. For this reason, many advise against feeding pellets of any kind to eclectus. Conversely, many eclectus owners successfully feed pellets without consequence so it's likely that it depends on the individual bird. If you do feed pellets, we would go for natural pellets (no artificial color added) and limit the serving size.
For eclectus, as with all parrots, the diet should consist of plenty fresh veggies and fruit. Make sure to include natural sources of Vitamin A like sweet potato or it's lower sugar cousin the yam. Eclectus should be given a LOW energy, calcium-rich veggies. Kale is a good staple of the chop bowl. Add in orange veggies rich in beta carotene, which is a precursor of vitamin A and is needed for healthy skin, feathers, and mucus membranes, immune system support, good eye health and vision. Beta-carotene in itself is not an essential nutrient, but vitamin A is.
For fruits try cantaloupe, mangos or papaya. Strawberries are and excellent choice for calcium. Your ekkies will appreciate pomegranate, blueberries, kiwi, starfruit, and cantaloup as well... leave the seeds in. Remember, birds get a good deal of their hydration from the fruits they eat.
Tree nuts are a good treat for Ekkies just like any parrot, but limit the serving sizes since Ekkies tend to be a little less active and are more likely to have weight problems.
Check out this YouTube video report on Eclectus Digestion and Diet.
Note: the report is 2-part; part one is Eclectus and part two is Cockatoo.