Top 12 Colorful Rainbow Lorikeet Facts

Our list of the most beautiful birds n the world is dominated by extremely colorful winged creatures.

Very few birds are so brightly colored as the incredible bird described in this article.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most interesting facts about the Rainbow Lorikeet, a type of bird that has some remarkable characteristics.

1. It’s a member of the extensive parrot family

The rainbow lorikeet or “Trichoglossus moluccanus” is one of the members of the family Psittaculidae. These are Old World parrots in the order Psittaciformes which includes all the world’s Parrots.

There are 54 different genera in this family and 196 different species. There are also 5 subfamilies, including the Agapornithinae, Loriinae, Platycercinae, Psittacellinae, and Psittaculinae.

Rainbow Lorikeet facts
The amazingly colorful bird / Andrew Mercer / Wiki Commons

2. There are two recognized subspecies of this bird

This type of bird was first described in the year 1779 and referred to as “Psittacus moluccanus.”

French French polymath Georges-Louis Leclerc erroneously thought these birds originated from the Moluccas, an archipelago in the eastern part of Indonesia.

Several species were assumed to be part of the same genus but they have since been classified as separate species. Today, only two subspecies of the rainbow lorikeet are recognized:

  • T. m. septentrionalis
  • T. m. moluccanus

3. These birds are native to the east coast of Australia

The disinclination between the two subspecies is based on their range. The T. m. septentrionalis is native to the Cape York Peninsula in northeast Australia.

The T. m. moluccanus is native to all other parts of Australia and Tasmania.

The type locality of these birds has been defined as Botany Bay in Australia in the year 1916. Today, they are common all along the eastern seaboard of Australia.

Where does the rainbow lorikeet live

4. They have been introduced into various other parts of the world

This type of bird prefers dense rainforests, woodlands, or coastal bush found in the eastern part of Australia.

Because their natural range is quite extensive, running from northern Queensland to the southern part of Australia, they can adapt relatively well.

That’s why they have been successfully introduced into other parts of the world, including:

  • Perth, Western Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • Hong Kong

5. How big is the Rainbow Lorikeet?

The rainbow lorikeet is considered to be a medium-sized parrot. They have the following average size:

  • Length: 25 to 30 centimeters (9.8 to 11.8 inches)
  • Weight: 75 to 157 grams (2.6 to 5.5 oz)
How big is the rainbow lorikeet

6. They are extremely colorful and have a deep blue head

These birds are easily recognizable because of their extremely colorful plumage.

It features all colors of the rainbow and was referred to by the French naturalist as “La Perruche à Face Bleu” or “The Parrot with a Blue Face.”

They have the following distinctive colors on various parts of their bodies:

  • A deep blue head with a yellow-green collar.
  • The wings, back, and tail are green.
  • The chest is yellow-orange.
  • The belly is deep blue.
  • The tighs and rump are green.
  • A yellow bar covers part of the red underwings.

7. Male and female birds look the same

Juvenile rainbow lorikeets can easily be recognized because their beak is black. It only turns bright orange when they become adults.

It’s virtually impossible to see the difference between sexes as male and female birds look the same.

This is unlike another type of parrot that lives in the islands north of Australia called the “Eclectus parrot.” The male parrot of this species is green while the female is bright red.

Pair of Rainbow Lorikeets
A pair of Rainbow Lorikeets / John / Wiki Commons

8. They travel in pairs and are extremely territorial

Although you may see a flock of rainbow lorikeets, this is rather unusual because they usually travel in pairs.

They have a strong urge to defend their territory and they become aggressive when an intruder enters their territory. This can be another member of their species or another type of bird.

Small birds such are the noisy miner and the little wattlebird are pretty easy to chase away. If needed, they even manage to take on a dangerous bird such as the Australian magpie which is quite remarkable.

9. What do these birds eat?

Their specialized tongues were developed to feast n nectar and pollen which they can suck right out of flowers. The end of their tongue features a special appendage to facilitate this process.

They are important pollinators for various types of plants, including even coconuts in some parts of their range.

While nectar and pollen are the most important sources of food for these birds, they also eat the fruits from various trees and shrubs, including Ficus, Trema, and Muntingia.

It’s also possible to see them feast on papaya and mangoes in case these particular types of fruits are already opened up.

Waht does the rainbow lorikeet eat
A bird ready to eat / Andrew Mercer / Wiki Commons

10. Are Rainbow Lorikeets endangered?

They can be found in abundance all along the east coast of Australia. This means that they are far from endangered in their native range.

These birds are listed as “Least Concern” by BirdLife International, an organization that also claimed that it’s the most-observed type of bird in Australia.

11. Breeding happens throughout the year except for one particular region

March is pretty much the only month that breeding of this bird doesn’t happen in vast parts of their native range.

Their breeding behavior is slightly different in the utmost southern part of Australia. Here, they breed in particular months of the year starting in late winter to early summer which is between August and January.

The most common nesting site of these birds are hollows in trees and some pairs even share the same tree with others.

The female lays between one and three eggs and she is the one that incubates the eggs for 25 days.

Important note: these are monogamous birds and pairs usually remain together for life.

12. They suffer from a weird syndrome once a year

The Lorikeet paralysis syndrome is a mysterious condition from which rainbow lorikeets suffer. It only happens at a particular time of the year in southeast Queensland and northeast New South Wales.

Thousands of birds become paralyzed and are unable to fly and eat. The most intense period this happens is between December and February.

Because of this, it’s assumed that a certain type of fruit or plant causes this peculiar condition, although it remains unknown until today which one it is exactly.

Rainbow Lorikeet with open wings
A bird with open wings / Alfred Sin / Wiki Commons