Australian Eclectus Parrot - Reptile Encounters

Australian Eclectus Parrot

Scientific name:

Eclectus roratus macgillivrayi

Other names:

Rocky River parrot, Red-sided parrot. Other subspecies have different names.


Vulnerable (Australia)

The most extremely sexually dimorphic parrot in the world, the male and female Ecelectus parrot are remarkably different, so much so that up until the late 19th/early 20th century they were thought to be different species! The male is mostly emerald green, with red under the wing, and an orange-yellow upper mandible (top part of the beak). The female, however, is a mostly maroon-coloured bird, with blue-purple chest and all-black beak. The feathers are also very hair-like, and is most noticeable on the females where the red and blue meet on the chest, almost appearing fur-like.

In the wild, Eclectus parrots eat mostly fruits, such as wild figs, as well as nuts, shoots, flowers and buds, and seeds.

The canopies of rainforest and adjacent eucalypt woodlands.

The Eclectus parrot as a species is distributed through the Solomon Islands, Sumba, New Guinea and nearby islands, northeastern Australia, and the Moluccas. There are 9 subspecies currently recognised, although several are very much at least 2 subspecies, from Aru and Biak Islands in Indonesia, may not be valid. In Australia, the Eclectus Parrot is found on Eastern Cape York Peninsula, from Pascoe River south to Massey Creek and inland to McIlwraith Range.

They are noisy, raucous birds in their natural habitat, and their calls are a familiar sound in the rainforest blocks they call home. They spend most of their time high in the treetops. Groups will set out in the early morning, flying several kilometres each day from roosting sites to feeding areas. Nesting hollows in emergent trees (those that stand out higher than the canopy) are highly prized, and females will fight to the death over them. Once claimed, a female may not leave the vicinity of her nest hollow for 11 months of the year. Instead, she has as many as 5 males that may fly 20km a day collecting fruit for her, and feeding her via regurgitation. These males will compete for the right to mate with her, but they may mate with other females in the area as well.
Skip to toolbar