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Rainbow Lorikeet ()

Rainbow Lorikeet

The Rainbow Lorikeet

This beautifully colorful bird from the parrot family has been listed by the Australian government as an unwanted organism because of the damage it does to fruit trees.  It can ruin 70 to 90 percent of fruit crops when it decides to feed on them.  It is also a somewhat aggressive bird when it comes to food and will actually take over areas that had been feeding grounds for other birds.  There is now a penalty for letting a pet rainbow Lorikeet go free.











Even though they are considered pests they are a work of art to look at and are actually quite friendly creatures.  Their feathers have a range of different colors hence their name.  They truly are a living rainbow with their green, blue, purple, red, orange and yellow feathers.  The tips of their tongues have tiny hairs so that they can get the nectar out of fruits more easily.  Rainbow Lorikeets grow to be about 30 centimeters, (12 inches), tall and are very fast fliers.  They rest in trees in groups of hundreds and feed usually in groups of less than 20.  When the birds mate they will leave the group and build themselves a nest in a hole in a tree hollow.  The female lorikeet will lay two white eggs which she will sit on for about 25 days with the company of the male bird.  Together they will take care of the babies once they hatch until they leave the nest after about 8 weeks.  Afterwards the young bird will join other unmated birds in the communal roost so that the parents can have new babies.  After two years these young birds have reached sexual maturity and will in turn find a mate and have a family of their own.  These birds are known to live about 20 years in the wild.

Rainbow Lorikeets live off nectar mostly and water they find in leaves.  They will fly up to 50 kilometers, (31 miles), to find food and even develop a flight pattern that they follow everyday.  During the winter seasons when the food is scarce they will eat fruits that are laid out for them by people.  At the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Queensland, the visitors are asked to hold food out for the birds when they arrive in groups of hundreds at around 4pm.  They will perch on people's arms and heads to be fed.

Rainbow Lorikeets make very good pets because they can be tamed so easily and have a fun natured temperament.

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Unique Animals and Birds of Australia. Hong Kong: Rigby Limited, 1975. p.71
Grzimek, Bernhard. Four-Legged Australians. London: Collins, 1967. p.72-73

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