Toe Tapping/Wingflipping


New member
Dec 18, 2015
I have been an active viewer of the forum, however this is my first post.

I have a male Eclectus named Jax who is about 2 1/2 years old. We feed him a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and his pellets are Zupreem all natural. He has always been a good eater and have never had issues with his diet.

Monday morning we took him to a new vet to have his nails trimmed and wings clipped. I will admit he was overdue for this. We brought him home and he spent the afternoon by himself in his cage due to obligations for both of us. When I came home from work I noticed he was holding his foot up and shaking it around like it was in pain. There was a small cut/mark on one of his toes so we figured it was causing him pain. We took him to the vet the next morning to get it checked out. The vet said he has never seen a bird act like that and he should be fine in a few days. Also gave us a pain medication to give to him that we gave him Tuesday night. Our guess was that since he wasn't used to his nails being trimmed he may have fell off his perch and injured his foot in his cage.

Since then, his foot has gotten better but he started toe tapping and wing flipping Wednesday night. Did a lot of research about it and decided to give him a good mixture of leafy greens (we don't normally give him as much as we should), celery, pomegranate, and other fruits to hopefully balance his diet and rid the issue. This morning he is still toe tapping and wing flipping and we noticed his poop was very dark. I don't know if I would consider it black, but it is cutting it close. We did not feed him blue or black berries. Would all the leafy greens cause this?

Anybody have experience with these types of issues? What did you do to correct the toe tapping and wing flipping? It has me very worried and trying to decide what I need to do. Never have had any issues with him before, so I don't know if I am over exaggerating about all this or not.

Thanks in advance!


Well-known member
Sep 18, 2013
San Antonio, TX
Presently have six Greenwing Macaw (17 yo), Red Fronted Macaw (12 yo), Red Lored Amazon (17 y.o.), Lilac Crowned Amazon (about 43 y.o.) and a Congo African Grey (11 y.o.)
Panama Amazon (1 Y.O.)
Toe Tap is a common disorder in Eckies, and it's almost always diet related.

Eckies are very diet sensitive birds. Too much of certain foods, not enough of others, or really ANYTHING with supplemented vitamins can trigger toe tap.

My first bit of advice is to discontinue feeding him pellets and get him on a natural food diet. Eckies often do not do well on pellets. The artificial levels of vitamins in those things are usually what triggers it.

The second thing I would encourage you to do is do a food diary. Write down what you fed him. Then start use that to find out what foods do and do not trigger it. (Aha! He ate a lot of Corn today.)

There have been a lot of posts on this forum about toe tap, and there are a lot of diet articles on this forum that will help you resolve this issue.

There's a fair amount of info in this one:
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Active member
Jan 5, 2016
Oscar (eclectus)
Basil (Amazon)
My eclectus toe taps. I've read a lot about it. There appears to be no definitive research done on it. Most people believe that in the majority of cases, toe tapping is related to diet. But my eclectus only toe taps during the warmer weather. During winter, he doesn't toe tap at all, no matter what I feed him, and he receives the same diet all year round.
He also had a couple of episodes where he shook his foot, like you described it. Each episode lasted about four nights. Before each episode, I had fed him nuts in shells and a vet I consulted suggested that he's susceptible to foods containing fungal toxins. This may also explain why he toe taps during the summer period: the same vet believes that toe tapping can be caused by eclectus eating food that has gone rancid. Rancid food develops fungus. On hot days, their food can go rancid within half an hour.
From what I've read about the subject, though, each eclectus has their own triggers. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that in some cases, there can be other causes, such as a build up of gas, a vitamin A deficiency, etc.
As far as the colour of the droppings is concerned, I had a cockatoo whose droppings turned black and emitted a strong odor. In her case, she had a bacterial infection.

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