Eclectus toe tapping and wing flipping issues

Eclectus toe tapping and wing flipping issues

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Image above – Female Eclectus r. vosmaeri at North Carolina Zoo, no other subspecies combines a purple abdomen and clear yellow undertail coverts.

Hi Mitch,

I just read your piece on eclectus, and I have a question.


If the elongated digestive tract is urban myth, then why does my bird develop the eclectus toe-tapping and wing-flipping if he has been given regular pellets and/or too many vitamins?

What would cause this?





Let’s start with the toe tapping wings flapping things.



For the record toe tapping refers to a parrot who would appear to be tapping his or her zygodactyl foot on a perch like a drummer playing the bass drum or hi-hat cymbal combo.


it looks like this




Wing flipping is when a parrot, we see this a lot in eclectus will display its wings lowering and then raising them back tight against their bodies.


Ekkies are known for”flicking” their wings is a means to realign their feathers.


You may see an eclectus “flutter” its wings which confuses people thinking that they may have wing flipping syndrome.


With these two maladies presented to us, it’s here that we let you know that the two aren’t necessarily related and do not always go hand-in-hand.


Thus each issue must be evaluated individually.


It’s here I’ll stop and refer back to the original blog post concerning eclectus parrots ability to assimilate vitamins.


One of the things that I found interesting during my exhaustive fact checking procedures is that when you Google “eclectus parrot Hypervitaminosis studies, no results surface.


Lots of anecdotal information but the core premise of an elongated digestive system appears to be deficient in Google’s index


I’m beginning to find the trail claiming that a calcium deficiency may trigger toetapping or wing flipping.


I’m not finding whether or not this is sex related.


Calcium can be provided organically with leafy greens like collard, mustard, kale and broccoli.


This doesn’t mean you have to run off and make 2 pounds of chop for 250 g bird (almost 10 oz)


We’ve been very consistent in advocating a birds baseline diet of 70% commercial bird food.


Feeding a commercial bird food diet ensures that your feathered companion will get minimum nutritional requirements.


The other 30% becomes “fill in the blank”


Perhaps if we review the archives cage bird keepers who are savvy enough to identify toe tapping or wing flipping early on rebel to stop it by eliminating foods that had been enhanced with vitamins.


Editor’s note: a subject I’ve seen no mention of is, does the several subspecies of eclectus have any relationship to these neurological issues?

For the uninitiated we are speaking of the

  1. Ambon Grand Eclectus
  2. Aru Island Eclectus
  3. Australian Eclectus
  4. Biak Island Eclectus
  5. Cornelia’s Eclectus
  6. Grand Eclectus
  7. New Guinea Eclectus
  8. Red Sided Eclectus
  9. Seram Grand
  10. Solomon Island Eclectus
  11. Tanimbar Island Eclectus
  12. Vosmaer’s Eclectus (Female) <- most popular ekkie in the US)


As with many other species of captive birds some eclectus parrots have a higher a sensitivity to the food they intake.


If we can move past the “elongated digestive tract” paradigm, we may discover triggers that had been overshadowed.


What about preservatives we see that in a lot of dried fruit and yet we serve our pet birds well-preserved dried fruit.


Pet food manufacturers for all species are guilty of adding colors to the food.


Can food color be a trigger of toe tapping or wing flapping?


Pesticides? Chemicals? Calcium deficiency?


I’ve read about food allergies.


My research indicates that soy can be a trigger for negative behavioral issues.



I know, I’m just a guy so I reach out to my pals like Tom Roudybush, the founder of Tom Roudybush bird food.


Tom has long been anti-soy food allergy trigger kinda guy.


Spirulina is a nutrient rich algae.


The plant is found in many parrot pellets.


Yet Spirulina can be associated with a high number of toe tapping and wing flapping instances.




Mitch Rezman

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