The rainbow lorikeet is a medium-sized parrot that lives in northern and eastern Australia. The plumage of this bird is very bright and colorful. It has a red bill, blue head, bright green upper parts, red-gold breast band, and a blue belly.
The beak of the lorikeet is not raspy like other parrots but it does have a long, hair-tipped tongue that laps up nectar and pollen from blossoming flowers. It actually crushes the blossoms with its beak and laps up the juices with it tongue. It can be a pest when it descends upon an orchard. The orchard floor can be littered with crushed and fallen blossoms. It also feeds on fruit and sap.
These beautiful birds can be found in light woodlands and scrub areas but also can adapt quite well to large towns where they even visit garden feeders. They are not afraid of people and seem quite tame. At the Currumbin Bird Sanctuary in Queensland, rainbows come by the scores to be fed by hand. Each visitor gets to hold a tray of honey water that the lorikeets love. At about 4:30 in the afternoon, the lorikeets descend on the trays to eat. They walk all over the visitors’ heads and arms to get to the tray. You can actually watch their tongues lap up the sweetened water.
Lorikeets usually move in flocks and are swift in flight, having a high pitched screech that is unmistakable. Roosting in camps or flocks, they screech and chatter until ready to go to sleep.
Lorikeets pair for life and the nests of the lorikeets can be found in the hole of a tree or an empty cavity high above the ground. The female usually lays two eggs, which are incubated by her for about 3 to 4 weeks. Both parents feed the young hatchlings which leave the nest approximately 9 or 10 weeks after hatching.
The enemies of the lorikeet are birds of prey such as the goshawk.
Psittaciformes • Psittacidae • Trichoglossus haematodus
Weight: 15–20 ounces (425–600 g)
Length: 6–16 inches (15–40 cm)
Life Span: 20–40 years
Special Design Feature: God designed this parrot to show off almost all the colors of the rainbow.
Did You Know? The tongue of the lorikeet is like a brush, mopping up nectar and pollen from fruit.