Psittacus roratus P. L. S. Mьller, 1776, Ambon. Nine subspecies.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Red-sided parrot, grand eclectus parrot, red-sided eclectus parrot; French: Grand Eclectus; German: Edelpapagei; Spanish: Loro Ecelйctico.
16.5 in (42 cm); 0.88–1.2 lb (440–600 g). Remarkable sexual dimorphism: males green with pale yellow bill; females red and blue with blackish bill.
E. r. roratus: south Moluccas, Indonesia. E. r. vosnaeri: north and central Moluccas, Indonesia. E. r. cornelia: Sumba Island, Indonesia. E. r. riedeli: Tanimbar Islands, Indonesia. E. r. aruensis: Aru Islands, Indonesia. E. r. biaki: Biak Island, Irian Jaya, Indonesia. E. r. polychloros: New Guinea and adjacent islands. E. r. solomonensis: Admiralty Islands and Bismarck Archipelago to Solomon Islands. E. r. macgillivrayi: Cape York Peninsula, northernmost Australia. E. r. ‘westermani’: known only from aviary specimens and possibly aberrant roratus.
Lowlands and foothills. Closely associated with tropical rainforest and drier monsoon woodland, but visits variety of timbered habitats, including mangroves, secondary growth, plantations, and gardens.
Sedentary. Noisy and conspicuous in flight, but wary and secretive in forest canopy, keeping very much to treetops; when disturbed circles high overhead, screeching loudly; undertakes long-distance daily flights between communal nighttime roosts and feeding areas, always flying high above canopy, with males in front of females; usually in pairs or small parties, but larger groups may congregate to feed and at nighttime roosts.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, and nectar procured in treetops; particularly fond of Ficus and Parinari fruits.
Monogamous. Breeding recorded most months, but peak possibly between August and January; nest in tree hollow high above ground, and up to four nests found in same tree; groups of up to eight birds of both sexes in attendance at some nests suggests cooperative breeding, with “helpers,” probably offspring from previous years; clutch of two eggs incubated for 26 days; young birds leave nest at approximately 90 days.
Generally common, but locally scarce where captured for livebird trade. On Sumba Island, population of cornelia estimated at fewer than 2,000 birds. Listed on CITES Appendix II.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Popular cagebird; often kept as pets by local villagers; reported raiding village gardens to take fruit.
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