The Enchanting Eclectus Parrots in Australian Aviaries


Nemingha, NSW, Australia

T he Eclectus Parrot (pronounced e-klek-tus) is one of nature's colour creation wonders. First time viewers are overwhelmed by the beauty of the Eclectus hen and mesmerized by the startling difference (sexual dimorphism) between the hen's vivid blue, red, and maroon hair-like feathers and the brilliant green of the cock bird.

Australian Eclectus

Native to Australia, the Macgillivray Eclectus, Eclectus roratus macgillivrayi, is the largest of all the Eclectus subspecies. They look very similar to the Red-sided Eclectus but are considerably larger. In 1913 William McLennan discovered the Macgillivray in the rainforests of the Cape York Peninsula, which is located on the very northern tip of Australia in the state of Queensland.

In Australia, the Macgillivray is classed as an exotic parrot, thus requiring each one to be registered with the National Exotic Bird Register Scheme, each owner also is required to hold a special license to keep them in captivity. According to records dated December 1999, there were only 36 Macgillivray Eclectus parrots registered to 12 Australian owners. This illustrates how few of these magnificent Eclectus are kept in Australian aviaries.

The most widely kept Eclectus within Australia is the Red-sided Eclectus, Edectus roratus polychloros, their place of origin being the island of New


Guinea to the north of 'Australia. I do not know when the first E. r. polychloros was imported from their homeland into Australia, but until recent years, the asking price for the Eclectus was out of reach of the average aviculturist. Polychloros can now he purchased for around six hundred Australian dollars each. Now that it is more affordable, it is a sought-after parrot and is kept in aviaries around Australia.


Eclectus in Australian aviaries can he found housed in suspended or conventional aviaries, depending on the space available, owner preferences, and the monetary situation of the individual owner. To my knowledge no one in Australia houses Eclectus in the smaller stackable cages as practiced in some parts of the world. The suspended aviaries are well suited for undulating ground where extensive earth works would need to he performed if a conventional aviary were to he erected. Many choose to use the suspended aviaries to keep the Eclectus away from any decaying fruit, food scraps, or feces that could adversely affect the health of the birds. Although they are not a ground dwelling parrot, the Eclectus on occasion go to the ground for bits of food that have been dropped from their feeding bowls. Problems in conventional aviaries can arise if the keeper is unable to maintain hygienic conditions in the flights.

Suspended Cages

Suspended cages are not as popular for the housing of Eclectus Parrots in Australian aviaries, although this practice is slowly changing. The size of the average suspended cage would not he less than 4 meters in length 1.3 meters wide and around 1.8 meters high. We at Parrot Haven Aviary are considering housing some of our Eclectus in suspended cages mainly for the ease of cleaning and positioning the nest boxes in the safety walkway. We have had great success with this practice that we use with our Asiatic parrots and it is less stressful on the parrots.



The general practice of housing Eclectus in aviaries (as opposed to small cages) is very strong in Australia. Each breeding pair of Eclectus is generally housed in individual aviaries that I call flights. Aviaries can vary from 3 to 7 meters (9 to 21 feet) in length, 2.1 to 3 meters (6 to 10 feet) in height and 1.2 to 1.8 meters ( 4 to 6 feet) in width. I have seen various types of floors used in these flights, including washed river sand, small pebbles, concrete, and earth. Each of these floor fills has its own drawbacks. The washed river sand needs to be raked and sifted for seed husks and fresh food scraps on a regular basis, and when dry, can become dusty. Pebbles are harder to maintain because food and seed husks fall between them, making cleaning difficult. Concrete although easier to keep clean can remain wet and damp. Earthen floors can suffer from all of the other fill problems and more, and therefore is not recommended.

Eclectus Parrots

at Parrot Haven Aviary Parrot Haven Aviary is located at Nemingha near Tamworth in the state of New South Wales, in Australia.

Parrot Haven Aviary is a commercial aviary run by my wife, Lyn, and myself. We specialize in breeding and hand rearing many species of parrots for the companion market in Australia. One of our most sought after species is the spectacular Eclectus. The subspecies that we breed is the Red-sided Eclectus. These Eclectus are indigenous to the island of New Guinea to the north of Australia.