The Rainbow Lorikeet, also known as Trichoglossus
haematodus, is a species of Australasian parrot found in Australia,
eastern Indonesia (Maluku and Western New Guinea), Papua New Guinea,
New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. In Australia, it is
common along the eastern seaboard, from Queensland to South Australia
and northwest Tasmania. Its habitat is rainforest, coastal bush
and woodland areas. feeds on pollen and nector from flowers; they
have specialised brush-tpped tongues and comparatively long, narrow
bills. Some also regularily eat fruit.
The Rainbow Lorikeet is extremely colourful - almost
every colour of the rainbow can be found on their feathers. They
are not large birds, with a Rainbow Lorikeet's length ranging
from 25–30 cm (9.8-11.8 in) in size, and have a wingspan
of about 17 cm.
The features distinguishing a Rainbow Lorikeet
include a dark blue or violet-blue head and stomach, a bright
green back, tail and vent, and an orange breast and beak. Several
subspecies have darker scalloped markings across the orange or
Rainbow Lorikeets often travel together in pairs and occasionally
respond to calls to fly as a flock, then disperse again into pairs.
Rainbow Lorikeet pairs defend their feeding and nesting areas
aggressively against other Rainbow Lorikeets and other bird species.
They chase off not only smaller birds such as the Noisy Miner,
but also larger and more powerful birds such as the Australian
Photo by Bethwyn Boyt-Cullis
In many places, including campsites and suburban gardens, wild
lorikeets are so used to humans that they can be hand-fed. Semi-tame
lorikeets are common daily visitors in Sydney backyards, often by
In Australia, breeding usually occurs during spring (September
to December), but can vary from region to region with changes in
food availability and climate. Nesting sites are variable and can
include hollows of tall trees such as eucalypts, palm trunks, or
overhanging rock. Pairs sometimes nest in the same tree with other
Rainbow Lorikeet pairs, or other bird species.
Overall, the Rainbow Lorikeet remains widespread and often common.
The status for some localized subspecies is more precarious, with
especially T. h. rosenbergii being threatened by habitat loss and
capture for the parrot trade.[
Rainbow Lorikeets orginally lived on the east coast of Australia
but have been introduced to Western Australia.
The Rainbow Lorikeet was accidentally released into the southwest
of the state of Western Australia from the University of Western
Australia in the 1960s and they have since been classified as a
pest. Rainbow Lorikeets can also be found in New Zealand, particularly
around the Auckland area. New Zealand's Department of Conservation
has declared them a pest and is using similar methods to control
and eradicate them.
Many fruit orchard owners consider them a pest, as they often fly
in groups and strip trees containing fresh fruit. In urban areas,
the birds create nuisance noise and fouling of outdoor areas and
vehicles with droppings.