Eclectus Parrots – Sub-species Identification

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Female Eclectus

Eclectus Information (Personality, Care, Diet, Subspecies)

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    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

    Female Vosmaeri Eclectus Parrot

    In America, the most commonly kept sub-species are the:

    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.

    Female Identification

    Females of the different subspecies may be distinguished from each other by differences in size and color. 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.

    Purple Group Grand Eclectus    E.r. roratus Vosmaeri Eclectus    E.r. vosmaeri   Red Group Reideli’s Eclectus    E.r. riedeli Cornelia’s Eclectus    E.r. corneliaBlue Group Red-sided Eclectus    E.r. polychlores Solomon Island Eclectus    E.r. solomonensis Australian Eclectus    E.r. macgillivrayi Aruensis Eclectus    E.r. aruensis Biaki Eclectus    E.r. biaki


    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:

    1. Solomon Island Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus solomonensis)
    2. New Guinea Red-sided Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus polychloros)
    3. Australian Eclectus Parrot – also known as Queensland Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus macgillivrayi)
    4. Aru Island Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus aruensis)
    5. 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).

    Eclectus Female Comparison


    There are two subspecies in the Purple (roratus) group:

    1. Grand Eclectus (E.r. roratus)
    2. Vosmaer’s Eclectus (E.r. vosmaeri).

    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.


    There are two subspecies in the Red group:

    1. Tanimbar Island (Reideli) Eclectus (E. r. riedeli)
    2. Sumba Island (Cornelia) Eclectus (E.r. cornelia)

    Both these subspecies are entirely red. E.r. cornelia is larger but has no yellow on the tail contrary to E. r. riedeli.

    Size Differences Amongst Eclectus Species

    Sub-species – starting with the largest speciesin cmin inches
    Macgillivray or Australian Eclectus, Eclectus roratus macgillivrayi37 cm14.5 in
    Cornelia’s Eclectus, Eclectus roratus cornelia35.50 cm14 in
    Vosmaeri Eclectus, Eclectus roratus vosmaeri34 – 35 cm13.4 – 13.8 in
    Aru Island Eclectus Parrot or Aruensis Eclectus, Eclectus roratus aruensis34 – 35 cm13.4 – 13.8 in
    Red-sided Eclectus, Eclectus roratus polychloros33 – 34 cm13 – 13.4 in
    Solomon Island Eclectus, Eclectus roratus solomonensis30.5 – 33 cm12 – 13 in
    Biaki Eclectus, Eclectus roratus biaki31.75 cm12.5
    Grand Eclectus, Eclectus roratus roratus30.5 cm12 in
    Westermani Eclectus, Eclectus roratus westermani (validity of this sub-species disputed)29.25 cm11.5 in
    Riedeli’s Eclectus, Eclectus roratus riedeli29.25 cm11.5 in

    Eclectus Roratus Female Identification

     GrandRed-SidedSolomon IslandVosmaeri
    Size12 inches / 30.5 cm13 inches / 33 – 34 cm12 – 13 inches / 30.5 – 33 cm13 inches / 34 – 35 cm
    (Younger birds generally weigh less than birds that are over 2 years old)
    Female: 375 g
    (Male: 415 g – 433 g)
    Females: 380 g – 427g
    (Male: 376g – 526g)
    Female: 390 g – 430g
    (Male: 350g – 400g)
    Female: 366 g -460 g
    (Male: 398g – 455g)
    Blue Eye RingAbsentPresentPresentAbsent
    Breast ColorLight PurpleRoyal BlueRoyal BlueLight Purple
    Tail / Tail TipBright red with (yellow-end orange tipRedRedBroad yellow tip
    (can have some touches of red)
    Eclectus Species

    Vosmaeri, and Solomon Island Eclectuses (Shades of Red and Green Eclectus Website)

    Queensland Eclectus Male

    Male Identification

    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.

    More Eclectus Information

    Eclectus Species


    Female Eclectus

    The genus Eclectus is composed of nine (possibly ten) subspecies, with differences in size, coloring, and natural range. Want to know more visit Beauty of Birds and access all the information.

    Female Eclectus

    Female Vosmaeri Eclectus Parrot

    The genus Eclectus is composed of nine (possibly ten) subspecies, with differences in size, coloring and natural range.

    Of these subspecies, the following four are the most commonly seen in captivity:

    1. Red-sided Eclectus (Eclectus roratus polychloros)
      • Native Range: New Guinea mainland
      • ID: blue eye rings, no yellow tail tips
    2. Grand Eclectus (Eclectus roratus roratus)
      • Native Range: Southern Moluccan Islands also known as Maluku Islands, Moluccas or the Spice Islands
    3. Solomon Island Eclectus (Eclectus roratus solomonensis)
    4. Vosmaeri Eclectus or Vos Eclectus (Eclectus roratus vosmaeri)
      • Native Range: Northern Moluccan Islands
      • ID: No blue eye rings. Yellow tail tips.

    Female Eclectus

    Significantly less common and unknown in the United States are the:

    1. Biaki or Biak Island Eclectus (Eclectus roratis biaki)
      • Native Range: Biak Islands – northwest of New Guinea
    2. Sumba Island Eclectus aka Cornelia’s Eclectus (Eclectus roratus cornelia)
    3. Australian Eclectus Parrot or Macgillivray Eclectus (Eclectus roratus macgillivrayi)
      • Native Range: Australia, specifically the Cape York Penninsula
      • At an average length of 37 cm or 14.5 inches, this is the largest of all Eclectus species
    4. Tanimbar Islands Eclectus or Riedeli’s Eclectus (Eclectus roratus riedeli)
      • Native Range: Tanimbar Islands in the Maluku province of Indonesia
      • ID: At an average length of 29.25 cm or 11.5 inches, this is (together with the Westerman’s Eclectus), the smallest of all Eclectus species.
    5. New Guinea Red-sided Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus polychloros)
    6. Aru Island Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus aruensis
    7. Westerman’s Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus westermani) – doubtfully valid.
      • ID: At an average length of 29.25 cm or 11.5 inches, this is (together with the Riedeli’s Eclectus) the smallest of all Eclectus species.

    Eclectus Female Comparison

    Eclectus Roratus Female Identification

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      Aru Red Sided Eclectus

      Australian Red Sided Eclectus

      Biak Red Sided Eclectus

      Ceram Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus r. roratus) – Grand Eclectus

      Cornelia’s Eclectus Parrots:

      Species: Scientific: Eclectus roratus cornelia aka Lorius roratus cornelia … English: Cornelia’s Eclectus Parrot … Dutch: Cornelia’s Edelpapegaai … German: Cornelia Edelpapagei … French: Perroquet eclectus de Cornelia

      Distribution: Sumba in the Lesser Sunda Islands

      Male Eclectus

      Grand Eclectus

      Halmahera Eclectus (Vosmaeri Eclectus)

      Queensland Eclectus Parrots or Macgillivray Eclectus

      New Guinea Eclectus

      Macgillivray Eclectus 

      Oceanic Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus infectus) is an extinct parrot species which occurred on Tonga and Vanuatu (possibly on Fiji)

      Red-sided Eclectus aka New Guinea Eclectus

      Riedel’s Eclectus Parrots:

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        Species: Scientific: Eclectus roratus riedeli … English: Riedel’s Eclectus Parrot … Dutch: Riedels Edelpapegaai … German: Riedels Edelpapagei … French: Perroquet eclectus de Riedel

        Distribution: Tinimbar Islands 

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          Solomon Island Eclectus aka Solomon Eclectus

          Vosmaeri’s Eclectus aka Halmahera Eclectus Parrot

          Westerman’s Eclectus Parrots: It is unknown if this is a real subspecies or an aviary bred bird.

          Description: The Westerman’s Eclectus hen has a dark smoky abdomen and is smaller than the females of the other sub-species, which feature blue or purple abdomens. Identification of the males in the various subspecies is much more difficult to determine. The usual method being differences in the size of the bird and the shade of green in their plumage.

          Species: Scientific: Eclectus roratus westermani … English: Westerman’s Eclectus Parrot … Dutch: Westermans Edelpapegaai … German: Westermans Edelpapagei … French: Perroquet eclectus de Westerman

          Distribution: only known by aviary specimens

          Taxonomy and Recommended Websites:



          Family:Psittacidae … Subfamily: Psittacinae

          Genus: Scientific: Eclectus … English: Eclectus Parrots … Dutch: Edelpapegaaien … German: Edelpapageien … French: Perroquet eclectus … CITES II: Endangered Species

          More Eclectus Information

          Photo of author

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