Swainson's Lorikeet

(Trichoglossus haematodus)


Swainson's lorikeets might seem like an easy bird to spot, with bright blue feathers on their heads and bellies; orange or red on their breasts; green under their tails, backs and wings; and striking red bills. 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.

A Note from the Caretaker

The Aquarium's lorikeets always travel as a flock and have been known to harass other birds in the exhibit by ganging up on them!

Quick Facts

Did you know that Swainson's lorikeets sometimes drink nectar until they are so drunk they can't fly?

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.

Lorikeets feed on pollen and nectar from flowering plants, which they harvest with their large, rounded tongues equipped with brush-like hairs. They crush fruits and berries to extract 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.

Swainson's lorikeets typically grow to about 12 inches in length, and females tend to be a bit smaller than males.

Lorikeets are common in their range.

Hawks and snakes are known to prey on Swainson's lorikeets.

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