Eclectus Digestive Tract

The Eclectus Digestive Tract: Finally Understood

Eclectus parrots
Eclectus parrots 

For decades the Eclectus enthusiast has tried and tried to understand the unique dietary needs of their beloved companion birds. We have been told that due to their longer than usual digestive tract they need a high fiber diet, a higher fiber content than other Psittacines that is.

In comparison to other herbivores though the Eclectus parrot doesn’t require near as much fiber though because, obviously, parrots, in general, are much smaller creatures and therefore have much smaller digestive tracts. To say they need as much fiber flowing through their digestive tract as a cow, or a monkey or a human is thinking nonsense. The Eclectus is not truly herbivorous, it borders on frugivore/herbivore because it is a fruit-loving exotic bird.

And why would the Eclectus require more fiber running through its digestive tract simply because it has a longer digestive tract? Does it really have a longer digestive tract? And if so, what is the real reason for having a longer digestive tract?

I personally believe it is not because it has a longer digestive tract that it requires more fiber in its diet, but because it consumes more fruit that it has a longer digestive tract in which to extract all of the nutrients from the pectin fruit fiber. Do you see the subtle difference?

The Eclectus originates from an indigenous region that supplies an abundance of berries and fruit in the mid-canopy of the forest where the Eclectus prefers to spend most of its time. The Eclectus’ digestive tract is very efficient in digesting and absorbing nutrients from plant matter, especially the berries and fruit it consumes in the wild.

The digestive tract of the Eclectus is so efficient at absorbing nutrients that it can actually over-absorb nutrients from highly processed diets. This is one reason why the Eclectus does not do well on highly processed diets laden with synthetic nutrients; this species is one of the first species to begin showing problems with over-absorption of laboratory-produced nutrients, even though we are beginning to see this “HyperVitamin-Absorption Syndrome” in many species.

Special Eclectus Diet

While it may appear that berries and fruit are high in the same kind of fiber that vegetables, grain and legumes are, they are not. The fiber contained in vegetables is mostly cellulose, a non-digestible fiber mostly laxative in action, and the fiber most present in grains is gluten and starch and the fiber most present in legumes is starch. Ah…but the fiber most present in berries and fruit is pectin, a very rich source of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, essential carbohydrates, plant proteins, and extremely high in antioxidants.

Pectin is a very valuable fiber in Nature and this could be exactly the kind of fiber the Eclectus’ digestive system is equipped to process; this could be exactly why their digestive system is longer than most other parrots. It’s quite possible that more time is needed for the proteases in plant proteins, specifically the proteases in berries and fruit, to break down the proteins in those foods for proper digestion, absorption, and metabolism; ergo the longer digestive tract to allow more time in digestion. When there are not an abundance of other sources of protein such as animal protein, grains, and legumes, the digestive tract may require a longer period of time in which to thoroughly break down the plant proteins for total absorption.

Therefore it is not that the Eclectus requires more fiber, it is that the Eclectus’ digestive system requires more time in which to digest, absorb and metabolize the high pectin fiber diet they are designed to consume.

Next time you perform a research on the kind of indigenous plants that grow in Indonesia, the larger area in which the Eclectus originates from, look for the indigenous foods that are at the mid-canopy level where the Eclectus spends the vast amount of its time. I am not speaking of cultivated crops humans have brought in from other countries and have begun to grow there; I am talking about original, indigenous species of all plant matter. Most of the indigenous foods in the mid-canopy of the forest will be berries and fruit. These are the foodstuffs the Eclectus were originally meant to consume. And this is why their digestive tract is long 

by design, so their digestive tract has plenty of time in which to digest, absorb and metabolize all of the nutrients contained in the pectin of those berries and fruit.

Of course, the Eclectus consumes the seed found in the berries and fruit, and they love the macadamia nuts that grow indigenously in their native land, they also consume some amount of tender leaves, grasses, and herbs as well as some amount of insects and larvae they find burrowed in the berries, fruit, seed, and nuts they consume.

But we have to keep things in perspective; the long digestive tract is not there to feed high fiber diets to, at least not the kind of fiber we think about when we hear the term “fiber”; the long digestive tract of the Eclectus is there to efficiently process the high amount of highly nutritious pectin diets the Eclectus is meant to consume.

Author Unknown

Eclectus Diet explained


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