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Eclectus Parrot

Eclectus roratus
Eclectus Parrot
Conservation Status: 
Least Concern
New Zealand

The Eclectus Parrot is a parrot native to the Soloman Island, Sumba, New Guinea and nearby islands, northeast Australia and the Maluku Island (Moluccas).  It is unusual in the parrot family for its extreme sexual dimorphism of the colors of the plumage;  the male having bright emerald green plumage and the female a mostly bright red and purple/blue plumage.  Joseph Forshaw, in his book "Parrots of the World", noted that the first European ornithologists to see Eclectus Parrots thought they were of two distinct species.  Large populations of this parrot remain, and they are sometimes considered pests for eating fruit off trees.  Some populations restricted to relatively small islands are comparably rare.  Their bright feathers are also used by native tribes people in New Guinea as decorations.

The Eclectus Parrot is unusual in the parrot family for its marked sexual dimorphism in the colors of the plumage.  A stocky short-tailed parrot, it measures around 35 cm (14 in) in length.  The male is mostly bright green with a yellow-tinge on the head.  It has a blue primaries, and red flanks and underwing coverts.  Its tail is edged with a narrow band of creamy yellow, and is dark grey edged with creamy yellow underneath, and the tail feathers are green centrally and more blue as they get towards the edges.  The Grand eclectus female is mostly bright red with a darker hue on the back and wings. The mantle and underwing coverts darken to a more purple in color, and the wing is edge with a mauve-blue.  

The tail is edged with yellowish-orange above, and is more orange tipped with yellow underneath.  The upper mandible of the adult male is orange at the base fading to a yellow towards the tip, and the lower mandible is black.  The  beak of the adult female is all black.  Adults have yellow to orange irises and juveniles have dark brown to black irises.  The upper mandible of both males and female juveniles are brown at the base fading to yellow towards the biting edges and the tip. The above description is for the nominate race.  The abdomen and nape of the females are blue in most subspecies, purple abdomen and nape in the subspecies members of the genus Geoffroyus, specifically in the auditory meatus and the prefrontal reaching but not joining the squamosal bones.  The skull of members the genus Tanygnathus is also generally similar.

The Eclectus Parrot is the most sexually dimorphic of all the parrot species.  The contrast between the brilliant emerald green plumage of the male and the deep red/purple plumage of the female is so marked that the two birds were, until the early 20th century, considered to be different species.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Eclectus Parrot", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.