Rainbow Lorikeet Fact File

Trichoglossus moluccanus

Credit: Copyright. The Animal Facts.

Weight

75-157g

(2.6-5.5oz)

Length

17cm

(6.7in)

Lifespan

Wild 30 years

Captive 30 years

Diet

Herbivores

Nectar, Fruit

Conservation Status

IUCN

Least Concern

Brightly Colored Birds in the City!

The rainbow lorikeet is named for its bright coloration which covers the body. They are also instantly recognized in many Australian cities from their loud call.

These birds are primarily herbivores which seek out nectar as their primary food source. This is supplemented with fruit and insects.

Females raise their young in a tree hollow. Pairs remain together for life and travel together during the year.

They are threatened through being fed improper foods by people along with disease.

Read on to learn more about these brightly colored birds.

Appearance

What does the Rainbow Lorikeet look like?

They have very bright coloring which includes a blue head with green on the back and the chest is reddish-orange with black bars Across the wings and tail they have green feathers.

A collar is present around the neck. In some this is greenish-yellow while in others it is orange-red. Some scientists class the birds with an orange-collar as a separate species.

Their eye has a red iris with a black pupil.

The beak is colored orange and features a prominent curve. Baby lorikeets have a black beak instead of an orange one which changes color as they grow older.

The rainbow lorikeet measures between 25-30cm (9.8-11.8in) from the head to the tip of it’s tail. Their wing span is 17cm (6.7in) across and they weigh between 75 and 157g (2.6-5.5oz). Males and females have a similar appearance.

Adaptations

How does the Rainbow Lorikeet survive in its habitat?


Their tongue is perfectly shaped to reach in to flowers to obtain the nectar within. It is coated by hairy bristles which further assist with this.

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Diet

What does the Rainbow Lorikeet eat?

Rainbow lorikeet’s primarily feed on nectar and pollen which they gather from shrubs and trees. To supplement this they also eat fruits, seeds and the occasional insect.

They regularly frequent bird feeders to get food and will also accept food out of a humans hand.

Some zoos allow people to feed their lorikeets with specially prepared mixes.

Learn more about the Rainbow Lorikeet in this video from the Australian Reptile Park on YouTube

Range

Where do you find the Rainbow Lorikeet?

Their natural range covers parts of Australia, Eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

In Australia they are found in the states of South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory.


Rainbow lorikeets have also been introduced to Hong Kong, Perth, Tasmania and Auckland.

Habitat

Where can the Rainbow Lorikeet survive?

Rainbow lorikeets live in rainforests, coastal areas and woodlands and can now also be found in many built up area’s due to habitat loss.

Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus)

Credit: Copyright. The Animal Facts.

Reproduction

How does the Rainbow Lorikeet produce its young?

In Australia rainbow lorikeets breed from June to January. Males and females mate for life.

Both sexes work together to create the nest. This is typically located in a tree hollow. They will line the nest with chewed or decayed wood.

The female lays between 1-3 eggs which are incubated by her for about 25 days. These remain in the nest and are cared for, for 45 days. Both parents assist in caring for the young.

Sexual maturity is achieved at 2 years old.

Behavior

What does the Rainbow Lorikeet do during its day?

The rainbow lorikeet makes a range of screeching and chattering noises to communicate with one another.

For the most part they remain in one area. They may complete some nomadic movements to take advantage of the seasonal flowering and fruiting of plants.

Rainbow lorikeets travel in flocks of one or two dozen. On some rare occasions they have been seen in groups of up to 100 individuals.

They may travel up to 64km (40miles) a day to find food.

Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus)

Credit: Copyright. The Animal Facts.

Predators and Threats

What stops the Rainbow Lorikeet from surviving and thriving?

The main predator of the rainbow lorikeet is birds such as the peregrine falcoln.


Rainbow lorikeet populations are decreasing. Some of this is caused by human interference. These birds are regularly fed in backyards and this can lead to them becoming ill as people give them unhealthy foods.

This species is present both in the domestic and international pet trades.


They are also affected by Psittacine beak and feather disease, this is an infectious disease which breaks down keratin in the body and is affecting many of Australia’s birds.

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Quick facts

The rainbow lorikeet can learn to speak many words.

Their scientific name, Trichoglossus, means “hairy tongue.”

Some authorities divide this species in to two species known as the red-collared lorikeet and the rainbow lorikeet. The red-collared has the orange collar while the rainbow lorikeet has a green collar.

They were first described for modern science in 1788.

Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus)

Credit: Copyright. The Animal Facts.

References

Pickrell, J., 2019. Wildlife of Australia. 1st ed. Sydney: Australian Geographic Holdings.

Morcombe, M., 2003. Field Guide To Australian Birds. Archerfield, Qld.: Steve Parish Pub.

Birdsinbackyards.net. 2020. Rainbow Lorikeet | BIRDS In BACKYARDS. [online] Available at: <http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Trichoglossus-haematodus> [Accessed 21 April 2020].

Kalhagen, A., 2020. Do Rainbow Lorikeets Make Good Pets?. [online] The Spruce Pets. Available at: <https://www.thesprucepets.com/rainbow-lorikeets-as-pets-390849> [Accessed 21 April 2020].

BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Trichoglossus moluccanus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/04/2020

The Australian Museum. 2020. Rainbow Lorikeet. [online] Available at: <https://australianmuseum.net.au/learn/animals/birds/rainbow-lorikeet/> [Accessed 21 April 2020].

Birdsinbackyards.net. 2020. Rainbow Lorikeet | BIRDS In BACKYARDS. [online] Available at: <http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Trichoglossus-haematodus> [Accessed 21 April 2020].

Dudleyzoo.org.uk. 2022. Lorikeet (Rainbow) – Dudley Zoo and Castle. [online] Available at: <https://www.dudleyzoo.org.uk/animal/lorikeet-rainbow/> [Accessed 2 January 2022].

2022. Rainbow Lorikeet. [online] Available at: <https://www.australiazoo.com.au/wildlife/our-animals/rainbow-lorikeet/> [Accessed 2 January 2022].

2022. Rainbow Lorikeet. [online] Available at: <https://moonlitsanctuary.com.au/rainbow-lorikeet/> [Accessed 2 January 2022].

2022. Rainbow Lorikeet. [online] Available at: <https://apps.des.qld.gov.au/species-search/details/?id=1125> [Accessed 2 January 2022].

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