Aust birds    Bird names   News   1-26    Habitats    Key plants    Glossary    Plumage    Tips    Thumbnails    Gen. info    Credits    Sponsors    Photos for sale   
NON-PASSERINES     1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10     11     12     13     14 15     16     17     18     19     20     21     22     23     24     25     26     PASSERINES
Would you like to contribute photos or sound recordings to this site? If interested, please CLICK HERE.
Have birds left a mess around your place? We recommend to try a professional cleaning service.

12

Rainbow Lorikeet

(Trichoglossus haematodus)
Alternative names: "Blue Mountain Parrot", "Blue-bellied Lorikeet", "Coconut Lory"
Size: 26-31 cm
Weight: 75-157 g

Similar species

SUBSECTIONS:     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Taxonomy, classification

See Rainbow Lorikeet at Wikipedia .

Note that Red-collared Lorikeets are now considered to be a separate species.

Range, habitat, finding this species

(for details refer to a field guide)

Click here to display information on habitat, range and finding this species

Sightings

Rainbow Lorikeets, race "moluccanus", are a common sight e.g. in the suburbs of Sydney, where we first saw them in 2003.

Click here to display more sighting information

Photos

Race "moluccanus"

Lateral portrait of a Rainbow Lorikeet (photo courtesy of I. Duncan)
[South West Rocks, NSW, September 2012]

Frontal view of a Rainbow Lorikeet (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Near Moree, NSW, November 2012]

Frontal view of a Rainbow Lorikeet observed west of Townsville, QLD (photo courtesy of L. Tonnochy)
[Near Townsville, QLD, 2012]

Near-lateral view of a Rainbow Lorikeet
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, May 2012]

Lateral view of a Rainbow Lorikeet (photo courtesy of C. Hayne)
[Near Moree, NSW, November 2012]

Rainbow Lorikeet checking its surroundings, head down
[Narrabri Lake, NSW, September 2012]

Rainbow Lorikeets working on the next generation (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, June 2013]

Rainbow Lorikeets in flight
[Narrabri, NSW, April 2012]

Near-lateral view of an immature Rainbow Lorikeet (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, November 2013]

Near-lateral view of an immature Rainbow Lorikeet, now seen preening (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, November 2013]

Close-up lateral portrait of an immature Rainbow Lorikeet (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, November 2013]

Immature Rainbow Lorikeet in flight (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, November 2013]

Adult Rainbow Lorikeet, left, with a dependent juvenile, right (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, October 2013]

Adult Rainbow Lorikeet, right, feeding one of two dependent juveniles, left (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, November 2013]

Two fledgling Rainbow Lorikeets in captivity

Breeding information

Breeding season: Sep - Nov Eggs: 2 - 3 Incubation period: 25 days Fledging age: 49 - 63 days

The breeding season depends significantly on geographical latitude. Lorikeets are sociable creatures which often nest in loose colonies, also in conjunction with other species.

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = Nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Tree hollow Material: Wooddust Height above ground: 5 - 30 m

Rainbow Lorikeet squeezing through the entrance of its nesting hollow
[Mt. Tambourine, Gold Coast, QLD, August 2013]

This is the entrance to the nesting hollow of a Rainbow Lorikeet
[Moree, NSW, September 2008]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 27 x 22 mm Colour: White Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Communal Mobility: Dispersive Elementary unit: Flock

Rainbow Lorikeets are gregarious, often noisy. Roosting colonies can count thousands of birds.

Standoff at the bird feeder: Sulphur-crested Cockatoo vs. Rainbow Lorikeet (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, June 2013]

Like other cockatoos and parrots, Rainbow Lorikeets have a division of labour during the breeding season. The female takes care of the egg incubation, during which she is dependent on him to feed her near the nesting hollow. Prior to incubating, the female will therefore test the male's willingness and ability to feed her.

Male Rainbow Lorikeet feeding his partner (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, August 2013]

These two Rainbow Lorikeets may also be bonding - "Rainbow Lambada" (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, May 2014]

Those keeping birds as pets will know that they do sneeze. Here one caught in the act.

"Oi mate, I hope you haven't got bird flu!" - Rainbow Lorikeet sneezing (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, August 2014]

Food, Diet

Rainbow Lorikeets feed on fruit, nectar and seeds.

Rainbow Lorikeet feeding on the nectar of a Callistemon flower (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Highland Park, Gold Coast, QLD, October 2011]

Portrait of a Rainbow Lorikeet feeding on nectar
[Epping, NSW, April 2006]

Lateral view of a Rainbow Lorikeet feeding
[Epping, NSW, April 2006]

Rainbow Lorikeets drinking water from a gutter
[Mt. Archer NP, QLD, July 2009]

Two "Connoisseur" Rainbow Lorikeets feeding on flour right from the back of a delivery truck
[Wyong, NSW, July 2013]

Frontal view of a Rainbow Lorikeet feeding on bread crumbs in an urban park
[Kempsey, NSW, October 2013]

Lateral view of two Rainbow Lorikeets feeding on bread crumbs in an urban park
[Kempsey, NSW, October 2013]

Two Rainbow Lorikeets feeding on nectar in a lemon-scented gum tree; these are the birds whose calls were recorded on 23 April 2014
[Eulah Creek, NSW, April 2014]

Call/s

For this species we have recorded the following call/s. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

rainlor_20140424.mp3 moluccanus (NW NSW) Contact call MD
rainlor_20140423.mp3 moluccanus (NW NSW) Contact call MD
rainlor_art_20131110.mp3 moluccanus (SE QLD) Contact calls ART
rainlor_20140127.mp3 moluccanus (NW NSW) Q&A (in flight) MD
rainlor_20140424_2.mp3 moluccanus (NW NSW) Q&A (in flight) MD
rainlor_20140423_4.mp3 moluccanus (NW NSW) Annoyed call MD
rainlor_art_20131112.mp3 moluccanus (NW NSW) Feeding calls ART
rainlor_20140423_2.mp3 moluccanus (NW NSW) Feeding calls MD
rainlor_art_20131115.mp3 moluccanus (NW NSW) Begging calls (juvenile) ART
rainlor_20140423_5.mp3 moluccanus (NW NSW) Various MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.