Scientific name: Trichoglossus haematodus
Vet for my Lorikeet
Origin: Australian Eastern border from Queensland to South Australia, Northwest Tasmania, Eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu.
Rainbow lorikeets were introduced to Western Australia, Auckland New Zealand and Hong Kong, where they are now considered a pest as they outcompete native birds in the area.
Natural habitat: Rainforest, coastal bush land, woodlands
Dimorphism: Difficult to determine and easiest when viewing interactions between pairs, however, males tend to have a greater concentration of dark orange colouring on their chests compared to the more yellow/orange of the females, and males have a larger square-ish body shape where females have a smaller rounder shape.
Personality: Lorikeets are very energetic sociable birds that are generally known for being very vocal and messy when in captivity. Very strong human bonds can be made with these birds, as they are a monogamous bird in the wild, pairing for life.
Diet: In the wild, Rainbow lorikeets are commonly pollen and nectar feeders from Eucalyptus, Melaleuca, Bottle brush, Grevillea and other native trees and scrubs. A variety of fruit, flowers and buds, a seed of trees and leaf buds with the occasional insect and larvae. Lorikeet vets note you see their diet differs from the more commonly kept budgies and cockatiels. In captivity the main components of a lorikeet’s diet will be commercial artificial nectar mix (which contains vitamins), that can be fed either as a wet or dry mix along with a mix of fruit and vegetables. Seeds do not normally play a part in lorikeet diets but some lorikeets will occasionally eat a little seed.
Lorikeets are highly prone to fungal and bacterial infections, as Lorikeet Veterinarians see, thus food must be kept very hygienic, not leaving fruit in the cage for more than two hours. Freshly rinsed natural branches full of leaves and flowers, if possible, should be placed into the cage as this serves two purposes; forming important part of the diet as it adds variety and allows for some stimulations for the birds as they can strip the leaves and bark and feed off any seeds, flowers and budding leaves.
Regrettably as a Rainbow Lorikket vet, we occasionally see rainbow Lorikeets close to death due to malnutrition; being fed an all seed diet!
Housing & Cage toys: Lorikeets are very active birds which need aviary or out of cage time, preferably for a minimum of two hours a day. They are excellent flyers and love spreading their wings, the cage needs to be large, allowing the bird to spread its wings in all dimensions.
Similar to other birds, there should be multiple natural perches of varying size, which are placed at either end of the cage allowing the bird to fly in between them. Filling the cage with interactive toys will keep the birds occupied but AVOID ROPE TOYS as lorikeets can ingest rope particles and develop felt-like foreign body obstructions along their gastrointestinal tract or the fibres may wrap around their specialized tongue.
Dr Phil, a lorikeet Veterinarian, has removed a fiber obstruction from the Small intestine of a rainbow lorikeet. The one millimeter diameter intestine was then sutured closed under magnification, and the bird went on to live a normal life. That is the smallest successful intestinal Surgery that the lorikeet vets have ever done.
Natural branches will help keep your bird busy, while he strips and forages through the foliage. Be aware not to overfill the cage, as the bird must still have space to move around. The water and food bowls should be placed away from perches to minimize soiling. Nectar dispensing bottle can be on a higher level than the others allowing the bird easy access to its main food group. Lorikeets love swimming and taking baths thus placing a wider shallow bowl of water will bring great pleasure. Unfortunately, these birds are very messy eaters thus owners need to be aware that daily cage cleaning will be needed to keep your bird healthy.
Common Health Problems in seen by Lorikeet Vets
- Feather Destructive Behaviour
- Yeast infections
- Gram negative bacterial infections
- Clostridial infections
- Circovirus/ Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease
- Liver disease
- Foreign body obstruction from ingestion of rope toys
Lorikeet Veterinarian – Melbourne