Eclectus Parrots - Sub-species Identification
Eclectus Information (Personality, Care, Diet, Subspecies)
The following information and photos (unless stated otherwise) are copyrighted and have been reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material: Dr. Rob Marshall - an avian vet and bird breeder in Australia, and author of "A Guide to Eclectus Parrots as Pet and Aviary Birds".
In Australia, the most frequently kept Eclectus parrot subspecies are hybrids of the
- New Guinea Red-sided Eclectus (Eclectus roratus polychlorus)
- the Solomon Island Eclectus (Eclectus roratus solomonensis).
In America, the most commonly kept sub-species are the:
- Solomon Island Eclectus (Eclectus roratus solomonensis)
- Grand Eclectus (Eclectus roratus roratus)
- Vosmaer's Eclectus(Eclectus roratus vosmaeri) and
- Red Sided Eclectus (Eclectus roratus polychloros)
In Europe, the most commonly kept sub-species are:
Identification of the subspecies is challenging in the female and almost impossible in the male without knowledge of the area of origin or domestic breeding history.
Females of the different subspecies may be distinguished from each other by differences in size and colour. It is Dr Rob Marshall's view that identification of Eclectus hens is made easier when the subspecies are divided into three groups:
Hen classification of some of the subspecies remains difficult without knowledge of their geographic origins.
BLUE (POLYCHLORUS) GROUP
Females of the Blue (polychlorus) group have a blue eye ring, blue breast colour and lack yellow in their plumage.
There are five subspecies in the Blue (polychlorus) group:
- Solomon Island Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus solomonensis)
- New Guinea Red-sided Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus polychloros)
- Australian Eclectus Parrot - also known as Queensland Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus macgillivrayi)
- Aru Island Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus aruensis)
- Biak Island Eclectus Parrot ( Eclectus roratus biaki)
Some consider Aru Island Eclectus (E.r.aruensis) and Biak Island Eclectus (E.r. biaki) to be variations of the New Guinea Eclectus (E.r. polychlorus).
PURPLE (RORATUS) GROUP
There are two subspecies in the Purple (roratus) group:
These subspecies have no blue eye ring. The different colour purple of the chest feathers readily distinguishes one from the other. E.r. roratus has a purple colored breast and dark maroon colored wings. E.r. vosmaeri is brighter colored than E.r. roratus. The breast is pretty lavender (pale purple) and wings are a fire engine red colour.
RED (CORNELIA / RIEDELI) GROUP
There are two subspecies in the Red group:
|Sub-species - starting with the largest species||in cm||in inches|
|Macgillivray or Australian Eclectus, Eclectus roratus macgillivrayi||37 cm||14.5 in|
|Cornelia’s Eclectus, Eclectus roratus cornelia||35.50 cm||14 in|
|Vosmaeri Eclectus, Eclectus roratus vosmaeri||34 – 35 cm||13.4 - 13.8 in|
|Aru Island Eclectus Parrot or Aruensis Eclectus, Eclectus roratus aruensis||34 – 35 cm||13.4 - 13.8 in|
|Red-sided Eclectus, Eclectus roratus polychloros||33 – 34 cm||13 - 13.4 in|
|Solomon Island Eclectus, Eclectus roratus solomonensis||30.5 – 33 cm||12 - 13 in|
|Biaki Eclectus, Eclectus roratus biaki||31.75 cm||12.5|
|Grand Eclectus, Eclectus roratus roratus||30.5 cm||12 in|
|Westermani Eclectus, Eclectus roratus westermani (validity of this sub-species disputed)||29.25 cm||11.5 in|
|Riedeli’s Eclectus, Eclectus roratus riedeli||29.25 cm||11.5 in|
|Size||12 inches / 30.5 cm||13 inches / 33 – 34 cm||12 - 13 inches / 30.5 – 33 cm||13 inches / 34 – 35 cm|
(Younger birds generally weigh less than birds that are over 2 years old)
Female: 375 g
|Females: 380 g - 427g|
(Male: 376g - 526g)
Female: 390 g - 430g
|Female: 366 g -460 g|
(Male: 398g - 455g)
|Blue Eye Ring||Absent||Present||Present||Absent|
|Breast Color||Light Purple||Royal Blue||Royal Blue||Light Purple|
|Tail / Tail Tip||Bright red with (yellow-end orange tip||Red||Red||Broad yellow tip|
(can have some touches of red)
Identification of the males from most subspecies remains difficult and relies upon differences in size and shade of green of the plumage. Both size and depth of green however may vary considerably within the same subspecies.
Male Eclectus are difficult to distinguish into species with the exception of macgillivrayi, riedeli and westermani.
- Macgillivrayi is large and long with a distinctive broad square head.
- Riedeli and Westermani are smaller and have distinct features.
Variation between individuals of the same sub-species also creates complication in identification.
Further classification difficulties arise because interbreeding of subspecies has been common in the past. As a result, confusion often arises when attempting to identify the exact sub-species of captive bred Eclectus Parrots.
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