Species group: Lories and Lorikeets
Other common names: Rainbow Lory, Blue Mountain Lorikeet, Swainson's Lorikeet
Scientific name: Trichoglossus moluccanus
The Rainbow Lorikeet is a multi-colored nectar-eating parrot that attracts admirers because of its energy, personality, and beauty. In the pet market, the name Rainbow Lory or Lorikeet has been used for a number of species and subspecies. Currently, the official common English name Rainbow Lorikeet has been assigned to the species known to pet owners as the Swainson's Lorikeet or Blue Mountain Lorikeet. Many birds you will encounter under the name Rainbow Lorikeets are now called Coconut Lorikeet, T. haematodus, by the scientists. As I've never heard a pet owner call it by that name, you will find information on that species listed under its popular pet market name, Green-naped Lorikeet. Here we'll just be talking about Swainson's.
Like the other Rainbow Lorikeets, Swainson's is a highly regarded pet for its brains as well as its beauty. Properly socialized birds have been trained to fly to anyone, and these beautiful yet friendly avian clowns can be rewarding pets for the well-motivated, well-financed individual. Alas, they can be impractical for the average person, since they demand an expensive, high maintenance lifestyle.
This adaptable species is endemic to Australia, Tasmania, and a few nearby islands, where it may be encountered in an incredible range of habitats, from the balcony of a skyscraper in downtown Sydney to the edge of a remote lowland rainforest. They form noisy, opportunistic flocks that wander in search of flowering trees, and they're happy to accept nectar and fruit offered by friendly humans who set up feeders for them.
They do represent something of a taxonomic challenge. Because of the confusion of subspecies and even several full species once lumped in under the name of Rainbow Lorikeet, you'll need to take care to make sure you have properly identified your pet. If you plan to breed your bird, contact an expert and get a certain identification, to avoid creating a mismatch. SInce Australia hasn't permitted legal exports of their birds for many years, true Swainson's Lorikeets may be somewhat pricey or hard to find outside the region Some birds have already been inadvertently hybridized and those individuals should be kept as pets or as beautiful aviary specimens, rather than being added to breeding programs.
The species now called Rainbow Lorikeet in English and Trichoglossus moluccanus in Latin is the Australian blue-bellied version of the Rainbow Lorikeet often called Swainson's Lorikeet or Blue Mountain Lorikeet. They do have a green nape, so don't use that to distinguish them from another "Rainbow" popular in aviculture, the Green-naped Lorikeet. The Green Nape,, T. haematodus, has a green belly and a red breast with blue-black barring, so the birds are easy to tell apart once you realize what to look for.
100 - 157 grams (3.5 - 5.5oz.)
25 centimeters (10 in.)
15 - 25 years
Behavior / temperament:
The colorful Rainbow Lorikeet doesn't know its own size. These energetic birds may try to dominate the home, including other pets. They are intelligent, so keep them occupied learning tricks and playing with toys, rather than giving them the opportunity to pull the cat's tail. Learn the signs that your bird is becoming beaky, and know how to distract it from biting. You don't want to inadvertently train your lorikeet to nip to get its way.
Expert breeder Dick Schroeder has written that the highly coveted Blue Mountain Lorikeet is much less likely to become nippy than the classic Green-nape. However, you should never assume that your lorikeet will stay sweet without any effort.
Any of the Rainbow Lorikeets has the potential to become a playful clown and a decent talker. Start early, work with kindness and respect, and you may be surprised at the pet quality of these beautiful birds.
Housing the Rainbow Lorikeet, especially a single pet, is another genuine challenge. Like all lories, they tend to have loose, squirtable feces that are sticky, sweet, and quickly develop an odor, so it's important to set up a cage that's easy to clean. Some people advocate clear acrylic on the sides and back of the cage, and other people suggest a long, rather than a tall cage, since a lory that gets up high can squirt its mess much further than a bird who perches lower.
Many people recommend a hanging cage over a tile or concrete floor. We don't usually have concrete floors in our houses, but it's possible that we might have a family room with a quarry tile floor. Otherwise, put down lots of plastic over that carpet or wooden flooring, as well as any nearby walls that wouldn't be easy to wash off. A minimum size for your Rainbow Lorikeet's flight cage is 24”w x 24”d x 24”h with no more than ¾” bar spacing, but these active birds do better with even more room. A Florida room or a conservatory might be a great place for your lory, but know your plants, since you can only have bird-safe greenery where you have a busy nectar-eater checking each flower.
Even though Rainbow Lorikeets don't have the strongest beaks going, they can be beaky and they can develop a tendency to become nippy. You should train them to step up onto a hand or a perch, and you should have a playgym that is separate from the cage, to prevent an individual from becoming cage-bound or overly territorial. Provide plenty of toys and chew items to channel that energy. They may appreciate a small nest box to sleep in.
Feeding a Rainbow Lorikeet is a challenge. All lories and lorikeets are brush-tongued parrots, an unusual branch of the psittacine family tree that is evolved to feed on the nectar from flowering trees, with a little bit of flowers, fruit, and perhaps insects on the side. To create a practical version of this diet in captivity, most people start with a high quality, well-regarded commercial liquid nectar, with about 50% of the diet coming from the nectar and the remaining 50% coming from a fruit and vegetable puree or chop salad. If you have kept other parrots, you may be familiar with a chop salad that leans heavily toward the greens and vegetable side of the produce aisle. With the lories, you need to be focused mostly on the fruits, with a small amount of such vegetables as cooked corn added for variety.
Rainbow Lorikeets are at risk for iron storage disease and gout, which means that they thrive on a low iron, low protein diet. Many deep green vegetables, including spinach, chard, and turnip tops, contain oxalates, a chemical that improves the body's ability to store iron – a bad thing for lories. Vitamin C also helps the body store iron, which means that you shouldn't overfeed C-rich citrus fruit like oranges. Similarly, a healthy “soak and cook” with plenty of sprouted beans and peas will have way too much protein for lories.
They cannot digest seed, and if you try to maintain your Rainbow Lorikeet on a seed-based diet, it will starve. What about pellets? Most off-the-shelf pellets are dangerous for lories but, in recent decades, specialty suppliers have developed a small pellet or a dry powder, as an alternative to liquid nectar. However, not everyone agrees that these pellets are a healthy diet for lories. It does change the quality of their droppings, to make them firmer and easier to clean, but many breeders feel that liquid nectar is more natural and easier on the lory's system.
The major advantage of the new “dry” nectar is that you don't have sweet, damp food sitting in front of your bird all day. If you go this route, be sure to provide plenty of water in a nearby hanging water bottle. Be certain that the pellet or mix is a low iron product intended for lories, or don't even consider it.
That said, most experts do stick with liquid nectar, but we all know that nectar (sugar water!) is a great growth medium for bacteria. Hence, you have to change the nectar bottles frequently – every four hours during the day in hot weather and at least twice a day in any circumstance. You must never feed honey, avocado, or chocolate to your Rainbow Lorikeet.
Written by Elaine Radford
kisses, clown bird, tricksters, gregarious, amazingly beautiful bird, real comedian
nippy, special diets, poop squirters, loud, Temper Tantrum, inexperienced pet owner
shiny jewelry, bright sparkly things, definite attitude, mushy foods, nectar eaters
We named our bird Johnny Knoxville because it was a bit of a daredevil. He was a Christmas present for my brother, who trained him very well, and took him out multiple times a day, it just takes time, and it's better from a young age. I have found male birds are easier to handle than females actually, hence us getting him a male one, the girls can get a bit violent and don't like as much attention.
Anyway, so Johnny Knoxville, having had 3 birds of this breed before, we knew they were quite busy active and a little bit loud birds. But we had never had one that was a daredevil. He used to climb up the curtains, then jump off to land on people's heads who were innocently watching tv on the couch, you really had to know where he was at all times, or watch out. He was a lot of fun, my brother used to put him on a toy plane and fly around with him after we clipped his wings, so he still felt like he was a 'real' bird who could fly, it was great.
As a breed for kids, I think Rainbow lorikeets are great, but kids older than 10 probably, so that they can train and handle them on their own.
His favourite thing to eat was pens, and if you ever tried to write anything he would try to steal your pen and break it into a hundred pieces, so we always had to hide pens from him. He moved on to liking to pull apart clothes pegs, the kind with a spring in the middle, so we actually used to buy a bag of pegs every now and then just to give him as treats.
Being a tropical bird, he liked to eat fruit, different flowers, and be sprayed with water. You can make a mist spray using an old cleaning bottle with the nozzle that turns to mist, most birds love this, especially parrots and tropical ones.
You will need to hold it a lot, and they do have scratchy nails, so it's best to put a scratching post/grit paper around one of their perches.
* Lovely markings and colours, very colourful, even from a young age
* Easy to train, and likes to be handled
* Social, will always talk to people and want to come out
* Can copy whistles and a few words (not as well as larger parrots, but you will understand what he's trying to say, only one word at a time though)
* Can easily learn tricks and copy sounds
* They squirt poo, from the air, while your holding them, while landing on the dinner table/couch/your head, and it's quite a lot of poo and really not lovely, they can shoot it about a meter sideways sometimes.
* They are very very active birds, they do need a lot of attention, if you don't have time to take it out for at least half an hour each day, and talk to it for a minute every time you walk past, don't get one.
* It might just be our one, but he was a bit too adventurous and sometimes hurt himself or got stuck down the back of things from jumping (when his wings were clipped he still thought he could get around the same ways).
* They make a big mess of their cages, because they're so active, and move seed and stuff around on the ground, enjoy ripping flowers, pegs, pens etc to pieces.
Overall, beautiful bird, well worth having, smaller not requiring as big of a cage, not expensive to buy compared to other parrots, easy to handle and train. Definitely get one if you are considering a smaller parrot, far better than a budgie..
From Christina_ruth Sep 19 2015 11:53PM
Bibic was a loud, obnoxious, messy bird. A friend on the family gave the bird to us as a present, we were unaware that he had not been trained at all. He was loud constantly, and despite my effort to train him, they never worked. He pooped everywhere, and his cage was a real pain to have to clean. He was a shy bird who still loved cuddles, but he was a lot of work. We kept Bibic for around 8 months, but in the end, he was too much to handle. We gave him away to a friend of mine who loves birds of all kinds, he seemed a lot happier in an environment with so many other birds.
I would not recommend purchasing a Rainbow Lorikeet unless it has been hand-raised and trained properly. Most birds in general don't cope well with small children, so it is not recommended for those with children under the age of 8. However, a well-trained Rainbow Lorikeet can be your best friend, it's just about finding the right one..
From Sawah508 Jul 10 2015 11:09PM