Sexual maturity for females is reached at around 2.5 years of age and males 3 years of age and once ready they are commonly recognised as prolific breeders given the right conditions. If keeping Eclectus together from a young age you may also find that they will display courting behaviours towards each other at around 18 months of age. Mating is generally conducted on the perch although we have witnessed mating being conducted in the nest box and is more common than we first thought.
At BYB we provide a large wooden ‘L’ shaped nest box made from good quality plywood lined with a mixture of wood shavings and peat moss which we find works well and the peat moss helps regulate the humidity levels in the box. Over the years and after many trials and errors we find our Eclectus are happy with this style of box. The box we use allows the hen to lay her eggs and rear her young at the end of the box which permits the hen to quickly enter and exit the box without the risk of squashing her young.
During the breeding season they should only be housed in individual pairs as the hen can become very aggressive towards other birds and their owners. If housing multiple pairs of bird’s side-by-side consider either double wiring or a solid partition on your aviaries. It is quite common for other birds to suffer from toe or foot injuries caused by a protective breeding pair of Eclectus.
At BYB we breed our Eclectus from February through to October although it should also be noted that due to Sydney’s climatic conditions they can and will breed all year round unless we pull the nest boxes out, however we do prefer to avoid the hotter months for breeding due to health concerns for the parents and their young and we find this also gives the parent’s a well-deserved break.
Commonly the hen will lay 2 white eggs and they have been noted to lay 3 or even on the rare occasion 4 eggs. At BYB we have only ever witnessed the hen incubating 3 fertile eggs at the most. The second egg is laid 2-4 days apart from the first egg and the hen will not start incubating the eggs until all have been laid. The incubation period is 28 days and is incubated solely by the hen. The weight of a newborn hatchling is around 14-18 grams and the young fledge the nest at around 3 months of age being self-dependant by around 4 months.
We recommend to avoid constantly checking the nest box, although you may find it exciting the birds will not, not only may you risk causing injury to yourself from an aggressive hen it may cause the hen to abandon her eggs or young, too often do we hear stories like this!
An aviary of solid metal construction is recommended to house the Eclectus in. They do well in either a suspended type aviary around 1.2mt high x 1.2mt wide x 3mt long or a conventional type aviary around 2.4mt wide x 3mt depth x 2mt high. They do well when housed in individual pairs as it is common for the hens to become aggressive coming into the breeding season so it would be suggested to have a full solid partition or double wiring if there are multiple birds being housed next to them.
When housing our aviary birds at BYB we have had a lot of success in keeping and breeding our Eclectus in suspended style aviaries measuring 1.2mt wide x 1.2mt high x 4.8mt long with half the roof and sides covered with colorbond sheeting and the remainder with a heavy duty aviary wire. We find this is the best method of housing our breeding birds, not only is it easier to clean and maintain it also means that our birds have a reduced risk of contracting diseases or worms that can generally be picked up easily on the bottom floor of a conventional style aviary through wasted food or droppings and the length of the aviary allows them to fly freely in the cage.
If your budget allows, a bigger cage or aviary is always better when it comes to housing your Eclectus.
Housing your Eclectus should be a priority before bringing the bird/s home. If you are only looking at housing a single pet bird then you should select an indoor cage that is as big as your budget allows, as a guide the minimum indoor cage dimensions should be 60cm wide x 60cm depth x 120cm high and made of metal construction so as to allow enough space for your Eclectus to move freely. Eclectus are very social creatures and require a lot of ‘out of cage time’ and is a prerequisite if you are thinking of owning one. Also it is quite common that we see pet Eclectus parrots being housed on an open type large natural wooden bird stand.
At BYB we house our pet pair of Eclectus in a large indoor cage which measures 100cm wide x 80cm depth x 160cm high. The cage is located in their own bedroom in our house and the cage is always left open, the room is also equipped with toys, natural branches, roller window shutters and a split-system inverter system for heating and cooling. We find this arrangement works well with our pet birds and we are able to interact with them well, also it is worth noting that our pet Eclectus also breed in this arrangement where a large ‘L’ style nest box is attached to the side of their cage inside the bedroom.
A hand reared Eclectus parrot requires lots of attention and is a loving and devoted parrot that is a well suited addition to any family. They are easy to train and thrive for their owners' companionship. As with other bird species, owners should make sure to provide safe areas of your home for the Eclectus to explore and investigate as curiosity frequently gets the better of them. They are usually not shy birds however if placed in a different environment or with a person they are not yet familiar with it may seem that they are very shy, do not concern yourself with this as soon as they are familiarised with their environment and their needs are being met you will be sure to know about it.
Eclectus parrots are generally classified among the top three parrots for talking ability. Rivalling the African Grey and the talking Amazon parrots in clarity of speech and scope of vocabulary, they not only repeat many words and phrases but some learn entire songs. Some Eclectus chicks learn their first words before they are weaned if the hand-feeder repeats a word to them often. Eclectus parrots enjoy repeating interesting sounds as well as words and phrases learned from their human companions. They can imitate perfectly the sounds of a microwave oven, alarm clock, phone, or dripping faucet! Some males have melodious voices while others sound more like the men in their families, but nearly all Eclectus females have a charming, sweet and seductive voice. As with all parrot species, there are birds that never learn more than "hello" and one must be prepared to love a bird even if it never talks. Most Eclectus do learn at least a few words.