Eclectus Parrots – Sub-species Identification

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Female Eclectus

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

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

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:

  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

PURPLE (RORATUS) GROUP

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.

RED (CORNELIA / RIEDELI) GROUP

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
Weight
(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
VentRedRedRedYellow
(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