Pairing Eclectus for Breeding


E clectus parrots (Ee/ecrus roratus) are prolific breeders so be careful what you wish for when setting up pairs for breeding. This parrot species breeds year round in captivity and most pairs do not voluntarily take the rest breaks necessary for continued good health. One or two Eclectus pairs can keep an owner busy year round raising chicks.

There are several Eclectus subspecies from which to choose and care must be taken to pair birds of the same subspecies. Crossbred Eclectus parrots, often referred to as hybrids, are so prevalent in aviculture that one cannot easily find a proven pair of same subspecies birds for sale. A first-time Eclcctus buyer can make numerous costly mistakes in 

selecting birds for breeding so the help of someone who is knowledgeable about the identifying characteristics of each subspecies is invaluable. Some Eclectus experts have predicted that in the near future, pure subspecies specimen will exist only in the wild, and the habitat of wild Eclectus is disappearing as quickly as the special characteristics of the individual Eclectus subspecies in captivity.

It is especially difficult for the novice to determine subspecies identity of Eclectus males. In fact, subspecies identification of the male Eclectus is sometimes a challenge for experienced Eclectus breeders. The differences between Eclecrus males are subtle and one must observe numerous males of the various subspecies to become adept at 

recognizing the subtle clues. Because of this difficulty, Eclectus pairs are sometimes matched on the basis of an educated guess at the male's subspecies identity. By the time a mismatched pair matures and produces female offspring (by which subspecies purity can be judged), the pair is likely to have been together for several years. Some owners are reluctant to break the pair bond, and unable or unwilling to obtain new mates of the appropriate subspecies for each bird.

Choosing a Subspecies

The difficulty of locating pure subspecies birds is sometimes the factor that determines a new breeder's choice. The last shipments of wild Eclectus parrots imported into the United States were Solomon Island Eclectus, so it is believed to be easier to acquire pure birds or this subspecies. Another factor that attracts breeders to the Solomon Island subspecies is that the smaller subspecies are capable of reproducing at an earlier age. Solomon Island can reproduce as early as eighteen months to two years of age. The larger subspecies such as the Vosmaeri Eclectus can take two to three years longer to mature.

Aviculturists in the United States who breed Eclectus parrots on a large scale often choose to breed all four of the commonly available subspecies. Breeders who maintain only a few Eclectus pairs might choose to specialize and breed only one subspecies. This is advantageous to the breeder because any unrelated birds can be paired when one member of a pair is lost or the bond is broken within a pair.