The rainbow lorikeet is endemic to Australia and is most commonly found along the eastern seaboard. They inhabit rainforests, woodland and coastal bush areas. Rainbow lorikeets have adapted well to urbanisation but are often considered a pest as they strip fruit trees and foul buildings and vehicles.
Lorikeets are herbivorous and partially specialised as nectar feeders. The tips of their tongues are covered in large papillae (tongue bumps) which are ideal for collecting pollen and nectar from flowers. There are a range of commercial feeds available for Lorikeets that provide similar nutrients to pollen and nectar. In addition, a range of fruit and vegetables are also provided including apples and pears, with the seeds removed.
Click the play button below to hear what a Rainbow Lorikeet sounds like.
While they can eat a range of fruits and blossoms they can have difficulty digesting and metabolising other types of foods and even fruits found outside of their natural range. Such foods include animal proteins (including egg and cheeses), foods high in fats or salts, and processed food.
Rainbow lorikeets are prolific breeders and will breed all year round if conditions are favourable. In wild populations breeding typically occurs from spring through summer and boxes are made available from September until February. Continuous breeding can be detrimental to the health of the birds (through depletion of calcium and other minerals) and nesting boxes are removed at the end of summer to ensure that breeding does not continue.
Rainbow Lorikeets can lay up to three clutches per season with each clutch typically containing two eggs. The eggs take 22-25 days to hatch with the female undertaking the majority of the incubation. In some instances the male will incubate the eggs for small periods of time and will often share the nest box with the female at night. Once hatched juveniles take 55-65 days to fledge and then undergo a fledging period of up to sixty days. Lorikeets typically reach sexual maturity at 18-24 months of age.
Rainbow lorikeets like most Australian parrots nest in tree hollows. In captivity each breeding pair has a nesting box available that mimics these hollows. The base of each box is covered in a layer on untreated saw dust or wood shavings.
Rainbow lorikeets are notoriously inquisitive and should have various forms of enrichment to prevent them becoming bored and developing self-destructive behaviours. Vegetation and flowers that are naturally found in their home range are periodically added to the enclosure to allow them to engage in natural foraging behaviours. Wooden perches and other vegetation are also added to provide the birds with new items to explore. As the birds do not have hands with which to investigate with they will often chew and debark branches.
Other artificial methods of enrichment are also used. Swing and ladders made from untreated natural fibres and woods encourage play and allow the birds to mimic hanging or swinging behaviours used when nectar feeding.
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