Lord of the Lorikeets

Posted by: Aamir

Dec 11th, 2006 • Category: Eye CandyTags: ,

Lorikeets are small, brightly coloured, highly arboreal parrots, a native of Australia. This most striking colored and noisy bird is one of 328 species of parrots found and 1 of 21 subspecies of Lorikeets called the Rainbow Lorikeet. Their distribution is mainly throughout New Zealand and coastal lowlands of northern and eastern Australia. Elsewhere, it is widespread from Indonesia to Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Green Nape Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus haemotodus)

Rainbow Lorikeets exhibit a dazzling color combination, ranging from emerald green, orange, midnight blue, dull blue, ruby red, lemon yellow, purple, violet greenish grey. Surprisingly enough this colourful bird can be hard sometimes to pick out in its natural habitat. They are a small bird generally 11 to 12 inches long, weighing 120 to 140 grams on average; females are generally a bit smaller and adolescents have duller markings.

Swainson’s Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus molocanus)

Lorikeets have tiny hair like appendices on the end of their specialized tongue, to help extract nectar. Their beaks are designed to easily extract hard to reach seeds from cones. For harder fruits found in rainforest trees, the birds begin by scraping the fruit on the inside of their open bill and then remove the sweet juice with their specialized tongue. Whilst feeding, because of the good grip they can get with their claws, they can be observed hanging upside down to feed. They occasionally feed on insects and larvae They obtain moisture from water trapped in leaves, but can also drink water directly using their tongue.

Blue-Streaked Lorikeet (Eos reticulata) & Weber’s Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus weberi)

Lorikeets spend approximately 70% of their time feeding. They can feed on 30 to 40 eucalyptus flowers per minute! While searching for food, the birds can travel more than 30 miles daily, stopping in 10-second intervals to scan the area in search of food. Unfortunately, because the lorikeet’s diet is comprised of nectar, pollen flowers, fruits, berries, unripe grain, apples, pears, and corn, they are responsible for a significant amount of crop damage and are considered pests by many.

Edward’s Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus capistratus)

The lorikeets’ roost is a centralized location where, it is thought, the birds congregate to share information. Spreading the word about discovered food resources, finding potential mates, and teaching feeding techniques to inexperienced fledglings are possible “topics of conversation.” Roost sizes vary seasonally, some having as many as 50,000 birds!

They are arboreal, which means they like trees, and can be very noisy, active, gregarious (sociable) and are often seen in the company of other birds They will spend long times feeding in trees but in hot conditions will have an afternoon break from feeding.

Swainson’s Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus molocanus)

For lorikeets, mating and nesting require just as much planning as their feeding routine. Lorikeets will travel long distances in an effort to locate a suitable nesting site. They typically build their nests in tree cavities, often as high as 80 feet (25 m) above ground. Numerous tree hollows are investigated before one is chosen. To prepare the nest, they add a layer of wood dust at the bottom of the tree cavity.

Forsten’s Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus forsteni)

The male will display courtship by arching his neck and bobbing his head, all the while emitting a low whistle. The female’s interest in mating will depend on how close she is to nesting. Once mating has occurred, the female lays a clutch, or group, of two or three white, oval-shaped eggs in the nest. The eggs are incubated by both parents for approximately 25 days before they hatch. Thought to mate for life, a pair of mating lorikeets can produce up to three clutches a season. In the wild, lorikeets have a life span of 15 to 30 years.

Swainson’s Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus molocanus)

At least 13 lorikeet species are considered endangered or vulnerable to extinction. The destruction of lorikeet habitats for logging and agriculture as well as the introduction of rats and snakes to South Pacific islands are a major contributor to their decline.

Cardinal Lorikeet

In Darwin, Australia, as much as 80 to 90% of tropical fruit crops have been lost to the Rainbow Lorikeets. In New Zealand, the capture of Rainbow Lorikeets is encouraged by the Department of Conservation. They pose a threat to other bird species that are indigenous to the area, so they have been declared an “Unwanted Organism” by the Biosecurity Act 1993. Pet owners are encouraged to keep their lorikeets in secure caging, otherwise strict penalties are enforced for anyone found releasing a lorikeet into the wild. Joining only a small number of species, Rainbow Lorikeets have been added to the Fifth Schedule of the Wildlife Act, meaning they are no longer protected.

Green Nape Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus haemotodus)

In captivity, the birds have been specially trained to overcome their natural fear of humans, and they aren’t shy when it comes to feeding—several birds at one time may even sit on your arm, or even your head and shoulders. Another reason as to why they are so friendly and fearless is because they are kept hungry so they can make contact with humans in order to feed. Lorikeets are curious and intelligent birds. In captivity they need constant human interaction and dedication for their mental and physical well-being.


Posted by: Aamir

Dec 11th, 2006 • Category: Eye CandyTags: ,
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    December 11th, 2006 at 12:56:


    La espera mereció la pena. ¡fantástico!

  2. photowannabe
    December 11th, 2006 at 18:08:


    Fantastic series. Each picture is better than the next. I do like the one of the male arching his neck. The detail is amazing.

  3. samuru999
    December 11th, 2006 at 19:36:


    Hi Ari
    I’m so glad you are back!
    Missed you, and your posts!
    Gosh, another wonderful post here!
    Thank you!
    The beautiful colors of these parrots is incredible!
    Love all the pictures…
    You sure do know a lot about birds!
    Love those birdies, huh? Me too!
    Great info…thank you!

    Take care Ari!


  4. starry nights
    December 11th, 2006 at 23:15:


    Good to see you back Ari.I cant get over the color of those birds, just awesome. The color combinations are unreal. thanks for posting all that information.I love birds too. the closest thing I had at home is a really pretty parakeet which had some awesome colors too.

  5. priya
    December 11th, 2006 at 23:49:


    Ari: Glad I am learning about birds from your blog. If not just see the pictures, admire and keep going without reading it. I hear that word “lazy”.

    The colors on them remind me of the rainbow. Unlike peacock or flamingo, they don’t show off their pride in colors. Beautiful.

  6. Sugarlips
    December 12th, 2006 at 00:24:


    Ari…Stunning pics…So vibrant hues I’m sitting here totally awww struck.
    Loved the post 🙂

    Stay Beautiful…!!

  7. Joel Reynolds
    December 12th, 2006 at 02:36:


    Wow – the bird series continues! Very nicely done – amazing colours.

  8. Chad Oneil
    December 12th, 2006 at 03:08:


    Cool birds.

  9. Kimberley
    December 12th, 2006 at 03:14:


    Wow…This would be an awesome series to display on a wall. It is amazing what beautiful and vibrant colors nature produces and also amazing how well you always seem to capture the beauty! Your work is great…I’m so envious (but in a good way)

  10. hpy
    December 12th, 2006 at 06:30:


    Thanks for telling me you’re back. And thanks for showing so wonderful birds. Hope we won’t get the bird flue looking at them :). We’ll catch the Shutter Happy flue instead! That one makes us come back to look for further pictures.

  11. Reflex
    December 12th, 2006 at 08:44:


    Amazing colors! I wonder why these birds have such vibrant and intense colors. Thanks for sharing these spectacular images!

    (Now back from the pause, hope to post more frequiently 🙂

  12. Le Mosquito
    December 12th, 2006 at 18:28:


    I return here for see other wiew of your fantastic birds. ¡Oh! Surprise: a link to my blog.

    Sorry by my poor english.:)

  13. Lord Boo
    December 12th, 2006 at 21:16:


    Gorgeous pics, as usual, bro ! apologies for the absence of comments; new job is keeping me busy 🙁 i love these birds; they look quite a bit like Budgies – i was looking around for a pet, and guess what i hit upon ? a baby python !!! 😀 planning to get one, and make it vegetarian, lol, cuz it’s diet is live crickets !! EWWW ! *hugs*

  14. Anonymous
    December 13th, 2006 at 05:52:


    Wb Ari!


  15. Perspective Inc.
    December 13th, 2006 at 07:44:


    Those are such stunning pics.. such beautiful birds..such vibrant colors! Awesome!

  16. Reflex
    December 13th, 2006 at 09:26:


    I have been good, thank you for asking and welcome back too 🙂

  17. navin
    December 14th, 2006 at 06:02:


    Brilliant shots. Absolutely brilliant.

  18. Saira
    December 14th, 2006 at 12:24:


    Hey ..Belated b’day to u …i never knew ur birthdate as well…so how was ur day…btw i like the new pics…they r so colorful…:)

  19. Robyn
    December 14th, 2006 at 19:07:


    Such vibrant colors! Wow, Ari – great job taking these photographs and your post is so informative as always. I hope all is well!


    ps. how is beta blogger working for you? I’m thinking about switching but i’ve heard there have been compatibility issues with flickr.

    Speaking of, I just had issues logging in while posting this comment!

  20. kalyan
    December 15th, 2006 at 02:57:


    Beautifully shot colored lorikeets…just brilliant!

  21. Kathy
    December 16th, 2006 at 08:50:


    Wow! thier colors are amazing! i want one! 🙂

  22. Corinne
    December 16th, 2006 at 10:08:


    Lovely work as always, Ari. The one in the 3rd looks very cheeky to me…

  23. Priyankari
    December 19th, 2006 at 10:11:


    Beeeeeeeeautiful colors n loooooooovely birds! Where did u find them?

  24. priya
    January 16th, 2007 at 13:09:


    Ari: Hope everything is fine at your side. I didn’t see you updating for 2007. Comeback when you have time.


413 photos, 154 articles, 811 comments