Scientific name: Rainbow Lorikeets:Trichoglossus haematodus
Life span: 15-25 years
Country of origin: Australia
Pet owner knowledge required: Beginner/Intermediate/Advance
Breeder knowledge required: Beginner/Intermediate/Advance
Description: Adult Rainbow Lorikeets usually weigh between 130 and 150 grams. Lorikeets are monomorphic and require DNA or surgical sexing to tell the sexes apart. The colour of the 'normal' Rainbow lorikeet is green wings, back and top of tail feathers with a vibrant blue/black streaked head, red/yellow fusion of feathers on the chest (proportion varies) and pale green collar. Red collared lorikeets have the paler green collar replaced with red. Females lay 1-2 eggs (some up to 3 eggs) and incubate for 24 days. Some pairs will breed all year round in captivity.
Lorikeet diet: Lorikeets are nectar feeders and must not be maintained on a seed diet. There are many commercial lorikeet mixes and nectars available. The mixes can be fed either dry with fruit or wet and many mixes are made especially to be fed either of these two ways. Lorikeets love fruits such as apple and pear. These fruits are crushed in the beak for the juice and the unwanted pulp left behind. The flowers from non-toxic native trees and shrubs such as Grevillia, Callistemon and eucalypt can be placed in the aviary for the birds to play with and obtain nectar.
Lorikeets as aviary birds: Lorikeets are darty fliers so a spacious flight is preferred. Their vocalisation does not make for a favourable species to keep, but if it can be tolerated then they can be quite amusing acrobats. Their diet means there is no seed mess to clean up and suspended aviaries make cleaning up much easier. Lorikeets are often best kept as one pair per aviary due to their aggressive nature, however they have been successful kept as a colony in a large aviary. Newly fledged birds can be attacked by others in a colony situation and may have to be removed quickly as soon as weaned.
Lorikeets as pets: There are a number of lorikeet species that can be kept as pet birds. These varieties can be divided into two main groups: small Australian lorikeets, and the more larger lorikeets (mostly tropical). This info focusses mostly on the Rainbow Lorikeet as the most kept pet species. Lorikeets are very playful, active pets, that are very interactive with their human owners. The smaller lorikeets, such as the Varied and Musk Lorikeets, make better pets because of their soft bite, but Rainbow or Red-collared lorikeets can be good talkers and a lot of fun to interact with. They form strong bonds with their owner and make excellent pets for those willing to provide the specialised care required by the lorikeet. The larger lorikeets make excellent talkers but can be very loud with high pitched screeches and require a committed owner who is willing to provide continuing obedience training. With a very curious nature, the larger lorikeets have an amusing mimicking ability and will often copy frequently heard sounds such as the telephone. They also enjoy a wide variety of toys for amusement, but toys with cotton must be monitored closely to prevent toes from being caught. If wanting a lorikeet as a pet it is best to obtain a handreared bird to avoid nasty bites while becoming familiar with the bird.
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