Derived from the word “eclectic,” the eclectus parrot certainly draws your attention. Their dimorphic nature pits the female’s and male’s appearances at such odds that people actually thought they were two different species until the early 20th century. Males have a bright green body with patches of red and blue on their wings. Females, on the other hand, are mostly red with indigo marks on their chest. They are also a little shorter than males, despite weighing about an ounce more on average.
Appearances aside, their personalities are usually also very different, with males tending to be more affectionate and sensitive than females, who may be shyer and more independent. While every eclectus parrot is different, there are some generally true expectations that can help you decide which sex is best for you.
At a Glance
Eclectus Parrot 101
Many subspecies of eclectus parrots are originally from Indonesia. They mostly live in wetland areas and prefer to be around water. Figs and papaya are some of their choice foods, but as pets, they eat a variety of fresh produce that’s more readily available to pet parents. Interestingly, eclectus parrots don’t usually live as long when kept as pets, averaging around 30 years compared to the 50+ years that they typically experience in the wild.
Although it’s fairly common for birds to be sexually dimorphic, the eclectus parrot is a special exception because the female’s plumage is just as handsome as the males, or arguably even more so. In contrast, most female birds of other species have dull feathers compared to the males, such as in male and female cardinals.
Male Eclectus Parrot Overview
Personality / Character
The eclectus isn’t known for being a super cuddly bird, but the males are usually noticeably more amiable than the females. The males may like to sit beside you or at least come out of their cage more often. This mimics their natural behavior; males are hunters that venture out in order to bring home food for the females, who stay in their nest for 11 months out of the year. Even so, males are more sensitive to loud noises than females, which means that they aren’t a good fit for households with frequent screaming, barking, or crying.
Like female eclectus parrots, some males may learn to talk and mimic human voices. They are more likely to be outgoing than females, which is a plus if you want a friendly bird that loves to chat with you.
Health & Care
Even small changes in a bird’s behavior can act as lifesaving warning signs. You should take your parrot to the avian vet if you notice things are out of the ordinary such as:
- Changes in plumage
- Excessive vocalizations
- Lack of appetite
Both male and female eclectus parrots are susceptible to avian diseases such as constricted toe syndrome and Psittacine beak and feather disease, which mostly grievously affects young parrots. It is a viral immune system disease that causes bones and feathers to break easily. Although there isn’t a known cure, they can be treated by an avian vet.
Eclectus parrots are polyandrous, which means they’ll mate with more than one partner. If you’re housing more than one female parrot with a male parrot, the male will likely try to mate with all of them. Male eclectus parrots begin their journey towards sexual maturity at 18 months old but aren’t usually capable of reproducing until they’re 2–4 years old.
Female Eclectus Parrot Overview
Personality / Character
A female eclectus parrot rules the roost. Her striking red plumage attracts her mates and endears her to pet parents, but don’t expect her to be overly amorous. Females are known to keep to themselves. They may even get a little snippy during breeding season. After all, they’re the ones responsible for raising their chicks and standing guard in their nests for most of the year.
Like males, female eclectus parrots may vocalize and mimic humans. You can also potty-train a parrot, but this takes time and persistence. Females might be easier to train, however, since they tend to spend more time in their cages than males.
Health & Care
Females aren’t known to have any sex-related health issues, but the female eclectus parrot is susceptible to the same health conditions as the male. You should take them to an avian vet if you notice any abnormal behaviors.
Mating season ranges between April and December. A female usually only lays two eggs per season. Incubation time is around 28 days, but the chicks will still hang around the nest for about 6 months. It’s common for female eclectus parrots to take between 2–4 years before they reach sexual maturity. All of this added together explains why they are polyandrous animals with a steep price tag.
Which Sex Is Right for You?
If you want a talking parrot but don’t want someone’s beak in your business all the time, the eclectus parrot is the ideal bird for you. Females tend to be a little shyer, spending more time in their cages than outside. However, this also means that they’re easier to potty train, which is something to consider since all parrots, regardless of sex, require time out of their enclosure each day. Males often warm up to humans faster but are more sensitive to loud noises. Since the eclectus parrot may live for a quarter century or more, it’s important to assess your household and lifestyle dynamic to make sure that these gentle birds are right for you.