In Australia, these common and brightly-coloured parrots can cause damage in orchards and vineyards.
Meaning of scientific name
Trichoglossus is a reference to the brush-tipped tongue in this genus, which is an adaptation for feeding on pollen.
There are 22 subspecies.
30-35cm long, wingspan 46cm, weight: 120-130g.
As you might guess from their name, rainbow lorikeets have brightly-coloured red, green, blue, yellow, and orange feathers. The curved bill is red. The males and females are hard to distinguish from each other.
Rainbow lorikeets inhabit south and east Indonesia (Bali to lesser Sundas). north to Kalaotan in southern Sulawesi and Moluccas. They are also found in New Guinea, North East and Eastern Australia.
They occupy wooded habitat including tropical rainforest, open forests, woodlands, heath, mangrove forests, parks, and orchards in Australia.
Rainbow lorikeets feed on flowers, pollen, nectar, seeds, insects, and some fruit. They use their brush-tipped tongue to get the pollen. The tip of the tongue has hairy projections (called papillae) that soak up nectar and catch pollen. They spend most of the day feeding.
They feed high up in canopy and rarely come to ground. They forage singly or in pairs but sometime in flocks of hundreds.
Rianbow lorikeets are monogamous and probably breed for life. The courtship displays are elaborate. The female lays 2 to 3 eggs in each clutch. The eggs are laid in a tree cavity high above the ground. The female incubates the eggs for 25-26 days, and the male feeds her. Both parents will feed the chicks.
Rainbow lorikeets are not listed by the IUCN.
Lorikeets have a loud screeching call.
Best place to see
Currumbin sanctuary in Queensland. Hundreds of rainbow lorikeets come to feed daily. Visitors are allowed to feed them by hand.