Rainbow Lorikeet – Profile & Care Guide

Common nameRainbow Lorikeet, Little Lory, Red-faced Lorikeet
Scientific nameTrichoglossus moluccanus
Length30cm (11.8 inch)
Weight140 grams (4.9 oz)
Lifespan25-30 years
OriginEastern and Southeastern Australia
Noise LevelMedium; High-pitched and rolling call
Rainbow Lorikeet - Profile & Care Guide By Parrot Essentials

NATURAL HABITAT

The rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus) is naturally found in coastal eastern and southeastern Australia. Here, the species is unfussy about habitat, although it doesn’t occur higher than 700 metres in altitude. It occurs in forested areas but is mostly associated with parks and gardens. As long as there are flowering trees like Eucalyptus available, rainbow lorikeets will be around.

Rainbow lorikeets are also introduced species in a few areas. Western Australia is notable, but they also pop up in Tasmania, New Zealand, and Hong Kong. The IUCN Red List considers these birds to be a species of Least Concern.

RAINBOW LORIKEET INTELLIGENCE & PERSONALITY

Rainbow lorikeets are highly intelligent birds. They’re quick to learn and, like many other parrots, can remember and mimic sounds they’ve picked up around them. Most individuals are highly trainable and can be taught a variety of tricks, which is part of the reason they’re so popular as pets.

Rainbow Lorikeet Intelligence & Personality

In terms of personality, this species is usually sweet and affectionate, although it’s also known for being chaotic and clownish. Lorikeets in general are known for their friendly and playful nature, both as pets and in the wild. This blend of intelligence and a fun personality makes rainbow lorikeets the ideal companion if you don’t mind a little craziness.

In the wild, rainbow lorikeets are known for being friendly and approachable. They’re a fixture in Australian parks and gardens! Easy to spot and curious about human activity, they’ll often approach if they think there is food to be had. This makes them a great species for beginning birdwatchers to spot.

RAINBOW LORIKEET TALKING ABILITY

Lorikeets are vocal in flight, and their screeches are commonly likened to the rattling of a chain. They have a variety of different screeching and chattering calls that are activity-dependent. If you’d like to keep one, remember that they’re by no means quiet.

Rainbow lorikeets’ ability to mimic human speech varies among individuals. They’re okay talkers—nothing like an African grey, but better than some other parrot species. When raised in close contact with humans, they may learn to imitate certain words and sounds. However, this is not a guaranteed trait for every bird.

FEEDING & NUTRITION FOR YOUR RAINBOW LORIKEET

A balanced diet is crucial for your rainbow lorikeet’s health and well-being. This species has evolved to be a highly specialized eater. It feeds mostly on nectar, pollen, and flowers using its unusual brush-tipped tongue. You shouldn’t feed your lorikeet typical dry parrot foods like pellets or seeds.

A proper rainbow lorikeet diet typically includes formulated diets or nectar mixtures. There are specific formulated diets designed for these parrots, such as Dr. Mac’s Organic Origins, Harrison’s Bird Food, Psittacus Lory Nectar, or Golden Tropic Lori Nectar and Psittacus Lory Pearls. These usually come in powder form and should be diluted with water.

Creating a pureed mixture of formula and fresh foods should work well. You can enrich your bird’s diet with orange vegetables like carrots, sweet potato, and pumpkin, which are packed with nutritious vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants.

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Additionally, a variety of fruits and vegetables, such as apples, beans, berries, broccoli, carrots, celery, grapes, mango, melon, pears, parsley, oranges, and strawberries can be included. Do keep in mind that fruits shouldn’t make up the primary component of your bird’s diet, as they’re too sugary.

Fresh, clean water should always be available. It’s also essential to remove any uneaten fresh food or nectar after 12 hours to prevent spoilage and maintain hygiene. Lastly, food and water bowls should be cleaned daily to ensure a healthy and safe eating environment.

This balanced approach to feeding not only caters to your rainbow lorikeet’s nutritional requirements but also adds variety to its diet. This way, mealtimes are both balanced and fun.

HOUSING FOR YOUR RAINBOW LORIKEET

Lorikeets are very active birds, so yours will need a spacious cage. Ideally, the dimensions of a rainbow lorikeet’s cage should be at least 36 inches in width, 48 inches in height, and 24 inches in depth, with the bar spacing being less than one inch. This size accommodates not only the bird and allows it to stretch its wings, but also fits a variety of toys. You should include plenty of natural perches, ropes, bells, balls, swings, and an array of destructible toys.

Given their liquid diet, the placement of the cage requires careful consideration. Don’t set the cage close to an uncovered wall or your expensive carpets, or they will end up covered in the bird’s unusually liquid droppings. To further mitigate the poop issue, you can place acrylic plating on the wall behind the cage and at the bottom of the cage. Regular cleaning is an important part of keeping a rainbow lorikeet.

In addition to a large and strategically placed cage, rainbow lorikeets need plenty of out-of-cage time for their physical and emotional health. A minimum of 3-5 hours of supervised playtime daily is highly recommended to prevent obesity and keep your parrot’s smart brain busy.

Lastly, rainbow lorikeets like to bathe. Provide yours with a parrot bath to splash around in as a means of enrichment and to maintain healthy and clean feathers.

FEATHER PLUCKING IN RAINBOW LORIKEETS

Feather Plucking in Rainbow Lorikeets

A sudden onset of feather plucking in parrots, including rainbow lorikeets, is often a sign of underlying disease. Behavioural feather plucking, on the other hand, typically starts with over-preening and gradually worsens over time.

Rainbow lorikeets, known for their activity level, enthusiasm, and inquisitiveness, require constant mental stimulation. It has been concluded time and time again that a lack of enrichment is a prime cause for feather plucking behaviour: when they don’t receive enough mental engagement, they may resort to plucking their own feathers as a form of self-entertainment.

This behaviour underscores the importance of providing ample mental and physical stimulation to prevent your parrot from developing this damaging and often addictive behaviour.

FACTS

  • In Australia, lorikeets are an introduced species in some areas and often considered to be pests. Rescues rarely accept injured rainbow lorikeets, and they are even sometimes purposely poisoned or shot.
  • Rainbow lorikeets used to consist of one species with several subspecies. Ornithologists have been arguing over the denomination for years and recently agreed to elevate a bunch of the subspecies to full species status. The “real” rainbow lorikeet is now Trichoglossus moluccanus instead of the former Trichoglossus haematodus (which is now called the coconut lorikeet).
  • As a result of this change, the rainbow lorikeet is no longer noted to occur in Indonesia. The Indonesian subspecies is now its very own species!
  • The rainbow lorikeet now has two subspecies: Trichoglossus moluccanus moluccanus, and Trichoglossus moluccanus septentrionalis.
  • It’s not possible to visually tell the difference between a male and female rainbow lorikeet. A DNA test is the best way to figure out your bird’s sex!
  • Rainbow lorikeets, like other parrots, are long-lived. They have lifespans of 30 years or more in lucky cases.

CONCLUSION

Caring for a Rainbow Lorikeet requires dedication, understanding, and a passion for their unique needs and vibrant personalities. They make great pets for the right person, but they can be handfuls.

Remember to provide a varied, nectar-based diet, offer constant mental stimulation, and make your rainbow lorikeet feel part of the family to keep it happy and healthy.

To view other Parrot Profiles & Care Guides, visit our Alphabetical list of Parrot Fact Sheets by visiting https://blog.parrotessentials.co.uk/parrot-profiles-care-guides/

Sources

Parr, M., & Juniper, T. (2010). Parrots: a guide to parrots of the world. Bloomsbury Publishing.

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