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National Aquarium – Rainbow Lorikeet

Swainson’s Lorikeet

Trichoglossus haematodus

National Aquarium – Rainbow Lorikeet National Aquarium – Rainbow Lorikeet National Aquarium – Rainbow Lorikeet

Swainson’s lorikeets might seem like an easy bird to spot, with blue on the head and belly; orange or red on the breast; green under the tail, back and wings; and a red bill. But in their native habitat, lorikeets' vibrant colors provide the perfect camouflage.

Lorikeets are stocky with pointed tails; and unlike many species of birds, males and females look alike. They are very noisy birds, screeching incessantly while flying and feeding. At night, they roost in flocks of thousands; and during the day, they travel in smaller flocks of perhaps 20 birds.

Did You Know?

Sometimes these birds drink nectar until they are so drunk they can't fly!


Lorikeets feed on pollen and nectar from flowering plants, which is harvested with a large, rounded tongue equipped with brush-like hairs. They crush fruits and berries to get the juice and have been observed getting intoxicated and rolling about drunkenly on the ground after feeding on fermented fruit nectar. They also feed on fruit, insects and larvae.


They grow to about 12 inches in length, and females tend to be a bit smaller than males.


Lorikeets are widely distributed along Australia's coastal strip from Cape York to Victoria and into southern Australia. They are abundant from Sydney northward, becoming less common south of Sydney. Their preferred habitat is coastal forests and urban clearings.

Population Status

Lorikeets are common in their range.


Hawks and snakes prey on lorikeets.

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