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Eclectus Wing Flipping

Some pet Electus parrots flip their wings along with toe tapping.

Eclectus wing flapping
By Cioli & Hunnicutt/Bowtie Studio/Courtesy Omar's Exotic Birds
Some female Eclectus will flip their wings because they are hormonal.

An off-shoot of Eclectus toe tapping is wing flipping. Some Eclectus just toe tap, others just wing flip, and some do both. Less is known about wing flipping. I can state with certainty that a female Eclectus that is reproductively active and receptive to a male’s courtship, often crouches down on a perch and flip her wings as a sign of receptivity to the male.

However, female Eclectus alone may often engage in this same behavior toward their favorite person. I have observed this most often in Amazon parrots, cockatiels, Eclectus, budgerigars (budgies) and macaws. Any receptive female bird, if petted and stroked over her back and under the wings, might show this behavior if elicited.

If wing flipping is noted, and it is not related to the reproductive activity of a female Eclectus, then it can be a repetitive behavior similar to that found with toe tapping. Some Eclectus will only toe tap, and with only one leg, but some will alternate the tapping with each foot, sometimes per episode and sometimes at different times when it appears. Some Eclectus toe tap and wing flip concurrently. If this is noted, and it is not related to a female Eclectus being reproductively receptive, then the bird should receive a thorough avian veterinarian’s work-up, the same as for a toe-tapping pet bird.

If no underlying disease or condition is identified, I recommend an elimination diet as for a toe-tapping Eclectus (consult your avian veterinarian for more information). If the condition diminishes, then the elimination diet was successful.


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The article states: "I can state with certainty that a female Eclectus that is reproductively active and receptive to a male’s courtship, often crouches down on a perch and flip her wings as a sign of receptivity to the male."

This is nonsense. Female eclectus parrots that are in a reproductive mode will crouch down, tail up, and NOT MOVE AT ALL or very little. Definitely no wing quivering.

The description of the female crouching and quivering her wings has an entirely different meaning. Crouching down and quivering wings indicates the bird has a strong urge to go to the owner, get out of the cage, want their food served,etc. It is an "I want" behavior. Note that the quivering stops when the bird stands up.

With wing flipping, the behavior is a repetitive uncontrolled motion of the wings, often accompanied by toe tapping. This behavior is NOT similar to wing quivering.

Wing flipping is continuous and repetitive, and can occur whether the bird is standing, perching, moving about the cage or eating. It can be very tiring for the bird and is most often associated with a sensitivity to chemical additives in the food or over supplementation with vitamins.

These are two very different physical behaviors. Wing quivering can be observed in many species of parrots, but not wing flipping.
Laurella Desborough, Middleburg, FL
Posted: 9/22/2010 4:37:36 PM
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