Native Parrots & Lorikeets
More than 330 parrot species inhabit our planet, and Australia is home to about 56 of them. In fact, this continent’s abundance of these birds led mapmakers of the 1500s to annotate the coast of a great southern land with Psittacorum Regio — “The Region of Parrots” — as reported by Portuguese sailing expeditions. Australian parrots all belong to the Psittaciformes order, within which birds can be divided into three families. Cockatoos, in the Cacatuidae family, are the largest, and DNA studies have shown them to be genetically distinct from other parrots. They are characterised by solid bodies, powerful grasping claws and well-defined, movable crests. By far the majority of Australian parrots (up to 60% of Australia’s species) belong to the Psittacidae family of “typical parrots”. Lorikeets, in the Loriidae subfamily, have a number of biological differences that set them apart from their Psittacidae relatives.
Lorikeets are a specialised group of the parrot family. They have developed physical differences that have set them aside from other parrots. They are distinguished from other psittacinesby anatomical developments and adaptions evolved to assist them in gathering and digesting their main food sources, pollen, nectar and fruit. Their beaks are long and narrow and the tongue has elongated papillae which form a brush like tip adapted for the collection of pollen and nectar.In the wild both lories and lorikeets eat nectar, pollen and fruits rather than seeds. Pet lories and lorikeets have similar requirements. They need a specialized diet of a nectar mix, fruit and vegetables.
Lorikeets are extremely playful and love to listen to music and dance. Some can be good talkers and most copy whistles and bells beautifully. They form strong bonds with their owner and make excellent pets for those willing to provide the specialized care required. If you want a bonded pet bird, as with any parrot species, it is best to obtain a hand reared bird from aviary bred parents or acquire your bird as soon as it is weaned from its parents and spend quality time with it at this critical early stage. More than other species, some lorikeets enjoy being placed on their backs, probably because they are so adapt and turning upside down to access nectar on flowering trees.