The Scaly-breasted Lorikeet is the only lorikeet with an all-green head combined with a red beak.
The Scaly-breasted Lorikeet's beak and eyes are red, and it is the only lorikeet with an all-green head combined with a red beak. Sexes appear the same, with green upper-wings and body, marked with yellow 'scales' on the breast and neck. In flight, Scaly-breasted Lorikeets have two-tone, red-orange underwings with grey trailing edges.
The Scaly-breasted Lorikeet lives in lowland eucalypt forests and woodlands but also occurs in heathlands and well-treed urban areas, including parks and gardens.
The Scaly-breasted Lorikeet occurs across coastal regions of eastern Australia from the tip of Cape York in Queensland, through to Wollongong in New South Wales.
Appears to be sedentary, although numbers in any particular area often fluctuate in response to seasonal flowering of eucalypts.
Feeding and diet
Scaly-breasted Lorikeets feed in flocks, sometimes joining flocks of Rainbow Lorikeets. They feed on nectar and pollen that they harvest with their brush-tongues, mostly from eucalypts, but also from shrubs such as melaleucas, callistemons and banksias. They also forage from a range of garden plants, including nectar, pollen, fruits and seeds from umbrella trees.
High-pitched rolling screeches.
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet females lay their eggs on a bed of decayed wood in a hollow limb, or where a branch has broken from the trunk of a eucalypt tree, at a height of between 3 m and 25 m above the ground. Both the male and female modify the nest hollow by chewing off pieces of wood, and this can take six weeks. Only the female incubates the eggs, but the male feeds her on the nest. Both sexes feed the young.
- Breeding Season: August to February
- Clutch size: 2
- Incubation: 24 days
- Time in nest: 42 days
Scaly-breasted Lorikeets are sometimes found in urban parks and gardens, particularly those with flowering eucalypts and umbrella trees. There is anecdotal evidence that they are declining in Sydney due to competition with Rainbow Lorikeets, which have increased in abundance, possible because of the provision of artificial food.
Scaly-breasted Lorikeets will visit well-treed urban areas with flowering eucalypts. They sometimes visit bird-feeders, but are often excluded from artificial food sources by Rainbow Lorikeets. Maintaining tree hollows in old trees is likely to benefit this species.
- 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.
- Beruldsen, G 2003. Australian Birds: Their Nests and Eggs. Self-published, Queensland.