Support
Subscribe
Subscribe to BirdNote

Sign up to receive a weekly email preview of the following week's shows!

Sign Up
Support BirdNote

Help BirdNote tell more stories, reach more people, and inspire action.

DONATE

You are here

Eclectic Plumages of Eclectus Parrots

Males and females of these colorful parrots look so different
© Benjamin Ho CC View Large

Eclectus Parrots are big, loud, colorful parrots native to the lowland rainforests of New Guinea and northern Australia. The female (seen right) and the male are so different, they were once thought to be two separate species. Such a dramatic sexual contrast in plumage is rare in parrots. It offers a bold and beautiful example of some of the powerful selective pressures at work in evolution.
Today's show brought to you by the Bobolink Foundation.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Eclectic Plumages of Eclectus Parrots

Written by Bob Sundstrom

[https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/169808 and https://www.xeno-canto.org/409485 ]

Eclectus Parrots are big, loud, colorful parrots native to the lowland rainforests of New Guinea and nearby areas. The word Eclectus shares a Greek root with the word “eclectic”, meaning “chosen from widely different sources.”
 
The vivid red female has a bright blue belly and black beak. The male is an iridescent green with an orange beak. An eclectic pair, for sure. They’re so different, they were once thought to be two separate species.
 
Their bright colors appear to be the result of different selective pressures on each sex.

The males gather together in small flocks and bring food to the female, who spends a lot of her time guarding the mouth of a nest cavity in a large tree. Since the green males spend their lives in the open, vulnerable to predators, they gain an adaptive advantage by blending in with the trees.
 
The colorful female at her nest hole stands out in her bright red. But in times of danger, she can quickly duck inside her nest, where the red may be harder to see.
 
Such a dramatic sexual contrast in plumage is rare in parrots. And it offers a bold and beautiful example of some of the powerful selective pressures at work in evolution.

Today's show brought to you by the Bobolink Foundation. Find us at BirdNote.org.
I’m Michael Stein.

###
 
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by Thane Pratt. Additional sounds provided by the Xeno-canto Foundation. Recorded by Ross Gallardy.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Managing Producer: Jason Saul
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
© 2018 Tune In to Nature.org   September 2018   Narrator: Michael Stein
 
ID# ECLPAR-01-2018-09-12   ECLPAR-01

References: Cornell Lab Handbook of Bird Biology, 3rd edition, 2016, p. 77

Sights & Sounds

Related topics:

Related field notes:

Home
Shows
Galleries
More