Over the holidays I went to Bristol Zoo on Tuesday 23rd June 2015, I was meaning to go during my Easter holidays, but didn't have time. So I made sure I went this time round! As always I took a video, naturally!
Here's a bit about them:
The rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus) is a species of parrot found in Australia. It is common along the eastern seaboard, from northern Queensland to South Australia and Tasmania. Its habitat is rainforest, coastal bush and woodland areas. Several taxa traditionally listed as subspecies of the rainbow lorikeet are now treated as separate species (see Taxonomy).
Rainbow lorikeets have been introduced to Perth, Western Australia, Auckland, New Zealand and Hong Kong.
Rainbow lorikeets are true parrots, within the Psittacoidea superfamily in the order Psittaciformes.
The rainbow lorikeet has often included the red-collared lorikeet (T. rubritorquis) as a subspecies, but today most major authorities consider it separate. Additionally, a review in 1997 led to the recommendation of splitting off some of the most distinctive taxa from the Lesser Sundas as separate species, these being the scarlet-breasted lorikeet (T. forsteni), the marigold lorikeet (T. capistratus) and the Flores Lorikeet (T. weberi). This is increasingly followed by major authorities.
The rainbow lorikeet is a medium-sized parrot, with the length ranging from 25 to 30 cm (9.8–11.8 in), including the tail. The weight varies from 75 to 157 g (2.6–5.5 oz).
The plumage of the nominate race, as with all subspecies, is very bright. The head is deep blue with a greenish-yellow nuchal collar, and the rest of the upper parts (wings, back and tail) are deep green. The chest is red with blue-black barring. The belly is deep green, and the thighs and rump are yellow with deep green barring. In flight a yellow wing-bar contrasts clearly with the red underwing coverts.
There is little to visually distinguish between the sexes; however, to a keen observer of their colouring and behaviour, their dimorphism is readily apparent.
Juveniles have a black beak, which gradually brightens to orange in the adults.
The markings of the best known subspecies T. h. moluccanus resemble those of the nominate race, but with a blue belly and a more orange breast with little or no blue-black barring. Other subspecies largely resemble either the nominate race or T. h. moluccanus, or are intermediate between them. Two exceptions are T. h. flavicans and T. h. rosenbergii. In the rather variable T. h. flavicans the green of some individuals is dull, almost olivaceous, but in others the green hue approaches that typical of the rainbow lorikeet. T. h. rosenbergii is highly distinctive and several features separates it from all other subspecies: Its wing-bars are deep orange (not contrasting clearly with the red underwing coverts in flight), the entire nape is yellow bordered by a narrow red band and the dark blue barring to the red chest is very broad.
It's only natural that I take a selfie with one of the Lorikeets!!
Unlike the eclectus parrot, rainbow lorikeets do not have any immediately discernible dimorphic traits.
Upon closer observation of their colouring, size and behaviour however, it is possible to determine the sex of a rainbow lorikeet.
This process is made easier when one observes them in pairs; however the general rules are that a male will have a greater concentration of dark orange on his breast as opposed to the more pronounced bleeding of yellow into orange of a female.
The male will also be more robust across the breast and traditionally have a thicker, more square head whilst the female sports a more rounded visage.
When feeding in a flock during breeding season, the male will often puff up and produce a threatening display, hopping around his partner as she feeds and ensuring that competitors for food do not interrupt her ingestion of food.
Rainbow lorikeets are monogamous and pair for life.
To the casual observer, there is no discernible difference in terms of the sexes, however with continual observation of the species whilst in flock behaviour, the dimorphism becomes apparent.
In Australia, breeding usually occurs during spring (September to December), but can vary from region to region with changes in food availability and climate. Nesting sites are variable and can include hollows of tall trees such as eucalypts, palm trunks, or overhanging rock.One population in the Admiralty Islands nests in holes in the ground on predator-free islets. Pairs sometimes nest in the same tree with other rainbow lorikeet pairs, or other bird species.
The clutch size is between one and three eggs, which are incubated for around 25 days. Incubation duties are carried out by the female alone.
Rainbow lorikeets feed mainly on fruit, pollen and nectar, and possess a tongue adapted especially for their particular diet. The end of the tongue is equipped with a papillate appendage adapted to gathering pollen and nectar from flowers. Nectar from eucalyptus is important in Australia, other important nectar sources are Pittosporum, Grevillea, Spathodea campanulata (African tulip-tree), and Metroxylon sagu (sago palm).In Melanesia coconuts are very important food sources, and rainbow lorikeets are important pollinators of these. They also consume the fruits of Ficus, Trema, Muntingia, as well as papaya and mangoes already opened by fruit bats. They also eat crops such as apples, and will raid maize and sorghum.They are also frequent visitors at bird feeders placed in gardens, which supply store-bought nectar, sunflower seeds, and fruits such as apples, grapes and pears.