Lorikeet (Rainbow) / Trichglossus haemotodus

Did you know...

  • The lorikeet’s tongue is adapted to its nectar and pollen eating habits by having a hairy brush-like structure at its tip. This is used to pick up pollen and nectar from  the flowers on which it feeds.

The Rainbow lorikeet is a medium sized Australasian member of the parrot family which is found in the rainforest, woodland and bush of Australia and eastern Indonesia. There over 20 sub-species of this bird in Australasia. Rainbow lorikeets live in pairs or small flocks of up to 20 birds although flocks of up to 100 have been recorded. They live and feed on the flowering trees of the forest canopy and like other lorikeets eat mainly nectar pollen, blossoms and seeds. They travel large distances to find food and fiercely defend their feeding and nesting territories.

The Rainbow lorikeet gets its name from its bright, multi-coloured plumage. Both sexes have similar colours and the bright orange beak and red eyes.

Like all parrots lorikeets have the typical curved shape beak necessary for cracking nuts and seeds and the zygodactylous feet (two forward facing toes and two rear facing claws) which allow the birds to perch, climb vertical tree trunks and grasp food in their feet.

Rainbow lorikeets form monogamous pairs and both birds are responsible for caring for the young.  Like most parrots they make their nests’ in tree cavities where they lay 3-6 eggs per clutch. The female incubates the eggs which hatch in around 22-24 days. Both parents then care for the young until they fledge at about 70 days old.

Overall, the Rainbow lorikeet remains widespread and often common. It is therefore considered to be of least concern by BirdLife International and the IUCN. However, its popularity in the pet trade and the destruction of its forest habitat may threaten it in the future.