Lorikeet: Ten things you didn’t know about them

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Lorikeet

There are a total of fifty-three species of lorikeet found all over the world. Lorikeets are extremely colorful, vocal and their habitat ranges from western Australia and Guinean parrots. They feed on the nectar and pollen. Though they have small, pointed tails, they belong to the same sub-family. Their upper mandible contains a pointed tip other than the pointy beaks observed in other parrots.

Their tongue has special brush-like bristles that aid them in sweeping food into their mouths. That is why they are also known as “Brush-tongued parrots.” The diet of these birds is nectar mix and fruit that is why they play a very prominent role in pollination throughout their life and hence are known as “Important Pollinators.”

The most common among them are the Trichoglossus moluccanus aka Rainbow lorikeets. Their subspecies is Trichoglossus moluccanus moluccanus, known as Swainson’s lorikeets

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However, in some countries like Australia, this bird has been so common in the agricultural and suburban areas that they are now considered pests as they destroy plantations and agricultural fields.

The office of EGG (Environmental Heritage of Australia) prohibits the locals from stopping giving any food items to wild lorikeets as such feeding causes these birds to be endangered.

The life expectancy of these birds is similar to other bird species, and they can live around fifteen to twenty years.

Rainbow Lorikeets

Rainbow lorikeets are among the most versatile and fantastic species of lorikeets. Rainbow lorikeet has twenty-seven different kinds of races. Their scientific name is “Trichoglossus moluccanus, Trichoglossus haematodus” Rainbow lorikeet normally weighs around 50 grams. They have red bills, their heads are blue and yellow, and they have black feet and green-colored wings.

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However, the color pattern is not according to any rule, and there can be multiple color patterns, and it varies from one lorikeet to the other. Rainbow lorikeets tend to fly in flocks chattering and screeching. They feed themselves in flocks in the Upper canopy.

The nesting behavior of most lories is similar to other parrot species. Like other birds, they also nest in hollow trees. Rainbow lorikeets also roost, and they do so in communities. Thousands of lorikeets may gather in the night for a roosting session.

The conservation status for the rainbow lorikeet is of least concern. At least thirteen species out of fifty-three are considered endangered or vulnerable. Lorikeets are also at threat from birds of prey and some snake species.

Rainbow lorikeet size

Rainbow lorikeets are commonly called lories and rainbow birds with very prominent colors like blue, yellow, and red. They are about the size of fifteen inches and can weigh around two to five ounces.

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Origin and habitat

Rainbow lorikeet is very easy to spot in coastal lines of Queensland and the areas of Southern Australia along its eastern coast. Apart from that, several countries have developed colonies for rainbow lorikeets like Perth, Tasmania, mountainous regions of New Zealand, Australia, and Hong kong.

Rainbow lorikeets find themselves inhabiting woodlands, trees, bushes, holes. It’s mesmerizing to know that even small birds like lorikeets can travel for up to forty miles to find food in a day. However, they do not tend to fly alone. Instead, they travel in noisy flocks that contain almost twelve or twenty birds.

Lorikeet

The temperament of rainbow lorikeet

Like other birds, the rainbow lorikeet is a very friendly bird. They are primarily famous for their little jiggly tricks and comical expressions. In a nutshell, rainbow lorikeet loves to socialize, particularly with humans. They love to spend time with their human owners.

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However, like all other bird species, lorikeets also need to be trained, or else they will be frightened by you. Therefore, it is normally advised to have maximum human interaction with rainbow lorikeets. For example, during feeding time, feed them with your hands. In this way, they will get accustomed to human touch.

Remember that the rainbow lorikeet is a very intelligent bird and thereby can learn several tricks and behaviors. Unfortunately, they are so smart that they can easily develop several ways to escape from their cages and are known as “Escape artists.” That is why you should always have a cage look while they are in the cage.

Though, lorikeets are friendly and get along with other bird species. However, in some cases, they may get jealous of their species and can become territorial. They can get quite jealous in the process. Therefore, they should be under supervision when with other young birds, particularly with their species.

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Lorikeet Breeding

The breeding season for the lorikeets takes place throughout the year except in March. However, in southern Australia the breeding season ranges from late winters to early summers. This is because birds breed depending on multiple factors like food availability and the climate of the different regions.

Nesting sites of lorikeets are not always the same and can vary from the tree’s holes to the nest in branches of the tree or a building. However, they look for the cavities and ‘hollow limb’ in palm trees, and eucalyptus, etc. They cover their nests with decayed wood and other stuff to provide bedding for young ones.

Lorikeets sometimes pair in communities where one couple can share the tree with other lorikeets and also with other species of birds. The lorikeets lay white eggs, and they can range from one to three eggs. The eggs are kept in incubation for around twenty-five days.

The chicks steadily grow and develop plumage all over their bodies. After seven to eight weeks, the chicks are capable of leaving and living on their own. The chicks reach their age of  maturity at the age of eighteen to twenty-four months.

Only the female is responsible for the incubation. Lorikeets are also monogamous like most birds, and they tend to stay with their partner for longer periods.

Diet and feed for a rainbow lorikeet:

Most people assume that most lorikeets will also munch upon the seeds and fruits like their relative birds. But, that is not the case. A rainbow lorikeet is different, and the main thing that distinguishes them from others is their tongue.

They have a brush-like tongue which is ideal for their species as they survive mostly in the wild in the feeding grounds. Being wild birds, lorikeets have to survive mainly on plant nectar and pollen. Their tongue aids them in brushing up the pollen and nectar from flowers and plants right into their mouths.

However, in captivity things change as you cannot maintain a natural environment in urban areas. So the owners give them artificial nectar mix or prepare them fresh nectar mixes, which have to be done twice or thrice a day. In addition, some of the owners have planted flowering trees to provide for these unique birds.

You can begin by giving them a quarter cup. However, if they finish it quickly, offer some more. Keep in mind that lorikeets need at least three hours in the day as their feeding time. That means they spend seventy percent of their time feeding. You can also add supplements to their diet like oats, fruit juice, fresh edible flowers, and green vegetables.

However, you may have to avoid the sour citrus fruits because they meddle with the lorikeet’s digestion. You also have to maintain a fresh supply of water every day. Do not try to syff your lorikeet with seeds and other artificial pellets in captivity. Why? Because they are damaging to their brush-like tongue.

Also, do not stuff them with the food they are not supposed to have, like tea, coffee, chocolate, alcohol, etc. All former things can be fatal for the lorikeet’s life.

Lorikeet paralysis syndrome

Like other lorikeets, rainbow lorikeets are prone to developing lorikeet paralysis syndrome. It is a condition in which the lorikeets cannot move any body parts, including their head, beak, wings, and even their eyes. The underlying reason behind this syndrome is unknown. However, lack of vitamin deficiency or some viral infection may cause this syndrome.

Green naped lorikeet

Lorikeet Trichoglossus,” these lorikeets are also known as “Coconut Lorikeets.” They are known as “coconut lorikeets” because their diet is around the coconut plantations and thus are essential pollinators of coconut plants.

Lorikeet Trichoglossus are habitants of the Indonesian Islands, and the Papua Guinea present on New Guinea. Like other lorikeet species, they also inhabit various habitats like coastal regions, woodlands, Islands, rainforests, parks, gardens, mangroves, etc.

These birds hang upside down for hours during their “roost sessions.” They also tend to sleep on their backs with their feet up in the air.

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