The Ornate Lorikeet

25th June 2010

Distribution: The Ornate Lorikeet occurs over a range of some 50,000 to 100,000 km2. They are near endemic to Indonesia, being found on Sulawesi (formerly called Celebes) and larger offshore islands such as Togian, Peleng, Banggai and Tukangbesi Islands. It might alos occur in New Guinea.

Status: Though the world population size has not been properly quantified, it is thought to be more than 50,000 individuals, and this species is described as 'common' in at least parts of its range. Global population trends have not been quantified, but the Ornate Lorikeet is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, this parrot is evaluated as Least Concern.

Habitat: The Ornate Lorikeet's natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical mangrove forests. It can be found in forest edge, secondary forest, bushy open terrain, upland valleys, wooded slopes, and even cultivated areas and towns, but seldom in primary forests. It frequents areas which altitudes generally vary from 100m to 200m, but can be seen sometimes as high as 1000m.

General habits: The Ornate Lorikeet is usually seen in pairs or small family groups, sometimes together with Yellow and Green Lorikeets. It doesn't properly migrate but some regional movements do occur probably linked to food availability.

Feeding habits: This parrots is vegetarian, feeding on fruits, nectar, and pollen.

In captivity, its diet should consists mainly of commercial or home-made nectar replaced several times a day. Lories also love fruits, such as apples, pomegranates, papaya, grapes, cantaloupe, pineapple, figs, kiwi, and some vegetables, including corn-on-the-cob. Another healthful addition to their diet are flowers, including pansies, nasturtiums, roses, hibiscus, marigolds, and dandelions.

Breeding habits: Breeding season is in September-October.

Nest: The Ornate Lorikket nests in a tree hollow.

Eggs: The hen lays Two rounded eggs measuring some 26.0 x 21.5mm. She incubates them on her own for 24 to 27 days.

Young: The little ones fledge at between 63 and 80 days and don't reach maturity until at least 8 months. Their lifespan is estimated to be at least 15 years, possibly 25 to 35. Juveniles have a green occiput with light red markings; the barring on their breast is narrower, their bill is brown orange, their eye brown with a pale grey eye ring and cere.

Call: The Ornate Lorikeet's calls range from a variety of loud, piercing whistles, grating screech, shrill “kreet…kreet ", and metallic "pings" to soft, high-pitched warbles and chattering. Calls made in flight are shrill and high-pitched "wee-oo-wee".

Description:. The Ornate Lorikeet measures roughly 25cm and weighs some 110g. Male and female look alike. They have dark purplish-blue crowns, foreheads and bands from eye to ear coverts, they are red from lores to cheeks, have a yellow patch down the side of neck behind the ear coverts; a red occiput and throat and a breast barred with dusty blue. The abdomen is green to the undertail coverts, with yellow scalloping. The upperparts are bright green, so is the tail. The underwing coverts are yellow. The cere and eye ring are dark grey around a dark orange eye. The bill is orange red.

Males and females look so much alike that breeders depend on DNA or endoscopic sexing to determine sex.

Did you know: Lories and lorikeets are also known as "brush-tongued parrots" because of their papillae-covered tongue, which allows them to access nectar and pollen with ease.

Though not extremely common in captivity, Ornate Lories are popular companion birds due to their intelligence, entertaining personality and stunning beauty. They are also quite easily bred, so they are readily available. Most stay tame, even in maturity.

The Ornate Lorikeet is also called: Ornate lory [English]; Schmucklori [German]; Loriquet orné [French]; Loricchetto ornato [italian]; Lori adornado [Spanish]