Eclectus, commercial bird food diets and “toe-tapping”

Over the past decade or so commercial diets, ingredients and supplemental items such as vitamins, spirulina etc. have been blamed as the “culprit” in regard this unusual behavior. Internet “expertise” has been quick to conclude that this issue is directly tied to commercial diets but there is no actual data showing tapping as a food related problem, or even a problem at all.
What has been observed is that even pefectly healthy eclectus tap.

So why then does this species display this unusual behavior?
We defer to comments from to Dr. Cathy Johnson-Delaney on the subject.

“Everyone needs to see Nature “Parrots in the Land of Oz” (PBS). It spends considerable time on wild Eclectus in Australia – they have a unique social system, where males fly huge distances daily and mate with lots of females, females are also promiscuious (sp.) and the male “taps” as a way of communication. It is a normal behavior. Our captive eclectus housed as pairs are frustrated (the females mate with lots of different males) and the males mate with lots of females. It is not a Male:female pair bond social system.

When the male is “toe tapping” he’s calling and declaring his position for other males – with none answering, he keeps doing it.

I’m going to buy the dvd and invite all eclectus owners to come see it. And we need to re-think medicating or whatever for a “normal” behavior. I have a feeling those eclectus getting the spirulina were actually in better reproductive health and therefore getting quite frustrating tapping and drumming with no birds answering.

You can order the dvd for 19.95 US dollars at the Nature TV website

It’s well worth it.”

Cathy Johnson-Delaney, DVM, DABVP-Avian
President, Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians

Harrison’s recommends eclectus be fed the High Potency formula, follow supplementation guidelines as listed on the bag and like all pets, annual veterinary visits are in order.

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