The Rainbow Lorikeet was abundant around Sydney until the late 19th century, but was rare in Sydney between then and 1950. It is now highly abundant again across Sydney.
The Rainbow Lorikeet is unmistakable with its bright red beak and colourful plumage. Both sexes look alike, with a blue (mauve) head and belly, green wings, tail and back, and an orange/yellow breast. They are often seen in loud and fast-moving flocks, or in communal roosts at dusk.
The Rainbow Lorikeet is found in a wide range of treed habitats including rainforest and woodlands, as well as in well-treed urban areas.
The Rainbow Lorikeet occurs in coastal regions across northern and eastern Australia, with a local population in Perth (Western Australia), initiated from aviary releases.
Largely sedentary with some nomadic movements in response to seasonal flowering or fruiting of plants.
Feeding and diet
The Rainbow Lorikeet mostly forages on the flowers of shrubs or trees to harvest nectar and pollen, but also eats fruits, seeds and some insects.
Frequent screeching and chattering.
The eggs of the Rainbow Lorikeet are laid on chewed, decayed wood, usually in a hollow limb of a eucalypt tree. Both sexes prepare the nest cavity and feed the young, but only the female incubates the eggs.
- Breeding Season: June to January
- Clutch size: 2
- Incubation: 23 days
- Time in nest: 45 days
The Rainbow Lorikeet appears to have benefited from artificial feeding stations and prolific-fruiting and flowering trees and shrubs.
The Rainbow Lorikeet has acclimatised well to urbanisation and is commonly encountered in well-treed suburbs.
- Higgins, P.J. (ed) 1999. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds, Volume 4 (Parrots to Dollarbird). Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
- Pizzey, G. and Knight, F. 1997. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Angus and Robertson, Sydney.
- Morcombe, M. 2000. Field guide to Australian Birds. Steve Parish Publishing.
- Simpson, K and Day, N. 1999. Field guide to the birds of Australia, 6th Edition. Penguin Books, Australia.