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Eclectus, Meyers, or GCC?

Macaws, Cockatoos, Greys, Poicephalus, Conures, Lovebirds, Parrotlets, Parakeets etc. Discuss topics related to specific species of parrots and their characteristics, mutations, pros, and cons.

Eclectus, Meyers, or GCC?

Postby Tbs1417 » Sat May 09, 2020 5:35 pm

My family and I have been looking into getting a parrot for almost 2 years now and have done extensive research on many different species of parrots. At first, we thought we had decided on a cockatiel, as we found they were really good with kids. But since then, my son has developed some respiratory issues and I worry the dust from a cockatiel may bother him. So, I have been looking into a few other species, mainly an eclectus, a meyers (or ruppells, as I have heard they are very similar), or a green cheek conure. I came here to ask people who have experience with these types of parrots which species you think may be best for our family.
A little background:
I work from home, so I will be with the bird a lot. Ideally, I would like for the bird to be a bit independent so that it could play with toys or something near me while I work. We also have 2 children (both under age 10), so a bird who isn't a "one person bird" (typically speaking, as I know all birds can have individual tendencies) would be best for us. Talking ability would be cool, but isn't too important to us.
So, out of the 3 species I mentioned above, which do you think sounds like a good fit for us? Thanks in advance!
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Re: Eclectus, Meyers, or GCC?

Postby Pajarita » Sun May 10, 2020 9:51 am

Hi, Tbs, welcome to the forum and thank you for doing research before you make a decision.

Before anything else, please allow me to comment on the 'family pet' issue. ALL parrots -without exception- are 'one-person birds'. It's not a matter of what species you get, what gender they are, whether you buy a baby or adopt an adult, what you do or what you don't do, it's the way nature made them. These are all species that are monogamous and mate for life so they are genetically 'programmed' to bond very deeply to one individual alone, ergo there is no such thing as a 'family parrot'. There are species that are more tolerant of interacting with people other than their chosen one but even these birds will reserve all their devotion for a single human.

As to which of the three species you mention... well, off the bat I would tell you not to get an eclectus. These birds should never have been bred for the pet trade and we did them a HUGE disservice by it because they have a super-duper specialized diet so VERY hard to reproduce in captivity that even after all the years that we have been keeping them, we still have not yet quite gotten the knack of it and they ALL die young because of it. The other problem with ekkies is that they do not do a prior display before they bite and, when they bite, they bite HARD! One of the worst bites I've gotten was from an ekkie (took years for my finger to regain feeling) and the only time one of my birds killed another bird was also an ekkie and she did not bat an eyelash before, during or after... she was just perching there and without actually moving much, she stretched out her neck, killed the bird and straightened out - it took just one second. This is not something you want with kids in the house. Now, Meyers and Rupell's are both poicephalus, same as senegals and redbellies. I don't have a Meyers right now and I've never had a Rupells but I have two senegals and two redbellies and the one thing they have in common is that they are INTENSELY one-person birds. And, when I say 'intensely' I mean they bond VERY deeply and are only sweet to 'their' human and very mean to everybody else. It took my husband almost three years to get Zoey Senegal used enough to him so as not to fly out to bite him - and it took me also years and years to get Isis Redbelly to accept me - and Zoey still bites my husband every now and then and Isis still bites me when she feels like it. They do not take kindly to any other bird or any other person 'interfering' with their relationship to their human and they will make it their business to warn them, as sternly as they consider necessary, NOT to get between them and their beloved. This is NOT a trait you want in a household with children because if the parrot chooses you, it will attack your children.

GCCs are, in my personal opinion, sweet-tempered birds. Not as sweet-tempered or as patient as a cockatiel would be of mistakes or mishandling but still very sweet. I've had only one GCC that bit hard and it was a male that had been neglected and borderline abused in his previous home. Aside from him, all the other GCCs I've had and known have been sweet birds. They are still one-person birds, mind you, but as long as they are consistently treated very kindly, they will not bite without cause. My GCC is the only bird I have that I trust enough to be handled by my grandkids - they are VERY careful, very calm and hardly do anything more than just walk or sit around with her on their shoulder but she is the one bird that will not bite for no apparent reason or out of jealousy.

But the question is also how old are your children because, in the majority of the cases, parrots and children do not mix well as parrots are undomesticated species that are not people-oriented and the kind of interaction a child would enjoy is NOT the kind of interaction a parrot would... under ten can mean five years old and you can't really ask or trust a five year old to quietly sit with a bird on his shoulder for very long. Aside from that, GCCs are tiny things and quite fragile so the kind and degree of interaction children can have with a little bird is VERY relative. They are also VERY good and fast fliers so unless you have buffer zones in all doors to the exterior and you keep them all locked, you might end up with a bird flying out the door (children forget no matter how many times we tell them not to leave the door open).

I don't like to answer these types of questions when there are children involved because it sounds as if I am against them - and I am not, I LOVE children (have 7 and 12 grandkids) and I do firmly believe that all children benefit immensely from growing up with animals but I don't believe that parrots work out with or for them. Children don't have the attention span, the patience, the equanimity it requires to deal with them properly and they end up losing interest very quickly or getting very frustrated with them even when they do love them dearly...
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