Lories and lorikeets
|Lories and lorikeets|
|Rainbow Lorikeet (H. t. moluccanus)
at Nelson Bay, NSW, Australia.
Lories and lorikeets (tribe Lorini) are small to medium-sized arboreal parrots characterized by their specialized brush-tipped tongues for feeding on nectar of various blossoms and soft fruits, preferably berries. The species form a monophyletic group within the parrot family Psittacidae. Traditionally, they were considered a separate subfamily (Loriinae) from the other subfamily (Psittacinae) based on the specialized characteristics, but recent molecular and morphological studies show that the group is positioned in the middle of various other groups. They are widely distributed throughout the Australasian region, including south-eastern Asia, Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Australia, and the majority have very brightly coloured plumage.
The usage of the terms "lory" and "lorikeet" is subjective, like the usage of "parrot" and "parakeet". Species with longer tapering tails are generally referred to as "lorikeets", while species with short blunt tails are generally referred to as "lories".
Traditionally, lories and lorikeets have either been classified as the subfamily, Loriinae, or as a family on their own, Loriidae, but they are currently classified as a tribe. Neither traditional view is confirmed by molecular studies. Those studies show that the lories and lorikeets form a single group, closely related to the budgerigar and the fig parrots (Cyclopsitta and Psittaculirostris).
Two main groups are recognized within the lories and lorikeets. The first consist of the genus Charmosyna and the closely related Pacific Ocean genera Phigys and Vini. All remaining genera, except Oreopsittacus are in the second group. The position of Oreopsittacus is unknown, although one study suggests it could be a third group next to the other two.
Classification of parrots in the subfamily, Loriinae:
- Genus Chalcopsitta
- Genus Eos
|Phylogeny of the genera of lories and lorikeets with their closest relatives, the fig parrots (Cyclopsitta and Psittaculirostris) and Budgerigar, based on the available literature|
- Genus Pseudeos
- Dusky Lory, Pseudeos fuscata
- Genus Trichoglossus
- Ornate Lorikeet, Trichoglossus ornatus (also called Ornate Lory)
- Pohnpei Lorikeet, Trichoglossus rubiginosus (also called Ponape Lory)
- Mindanao Lorikeet, Trichoglossus johnstoniae (also called Johnstone's Lorikeet)
- Citrine Lorikeet, Trichoglossus flavoviridis
- Rainbow Lorikeet, Trichoglossus haematodus (many subspecies, some of which are sometimes classified as species)
- Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus
- Olive-headed Lorikeet, Trichoglossus euteles (also called Perfect Lorikeet)
- Genus Psitteuteles (sometimes classified in the Genus Trichoglossus)
- Genus Lorius
- Purple-bellied Lory, Lorius hypoinochrous
- Black-capped Lory, Lorius lory (synonym Stresemann's Lory, Lorius amabilis)
- White-naped Lory, Lorius albidinuchus
- Yellow-bibbed Lory, Lorius chlorocercus
- Purple-naped Lory, Lorius domicellus (synonym Blue-thighed Lory, Lorius tibialis)
- Chattering Lory, Lorius garrulus
- Genus Phigys
- Collared Lory, Phigys solitarius
- Genus Vini
- Genus Glossopsitta
- Genus Charmosyna
- Palm Lorikeet, Charmosyna palmarum
- Red-chinned Lorikeet, Charmosyna rubrigularis
- Meek's Lorikeet, Charmosyna meeki
- Blue-fronted Lorikeet, Charmosyna toxopei
- Striated Lorikeet, Charmosyna multistriata
- Pygmy Lorikeet, Charmosyna wilhelminae (also called Wilhelmina's Lorikeet)
- Red-fronted Lorikeet, Charmosyna rubronotata (also called Red-spotted Lorikeet)
- Red-flanked Lorikeet, Charmosyna placentis
- †? New Caledonian Lorikeet, Charmosyna diadema (possibly extinct, 20th Century?)
- Red-throated Lorikeet, Charmosyna amabilis
- Duchess Lorikeet, Charmosyna margarethae
- Fairy Lorikeet, Charmosyna pulchella
- Josephine's Lorikeet, Charmosyna josefinae (also called Josephine's Lory)
- Papuan Lorikeet, Charmosyna papou (also called Papuan Lory)
- Genus Oreopsittacus
- Plum-faced Lorikeet, Oreopsittacus arfaki (also called Whiskered Lorikeet)
- Genus Neopsittacus
Lories and lorikeets have specialized brush-tipped tongues for feeding on nectar and soft fruits. They can feed from the flowers of about 5,000 species of plants and use their specialised tongues to take the nectar. The tip of their tongues have tufts of papillae (extremely fine hairs), which collect nectar and pollen.
Lorikeets have tapered wings and pointed tails that allow them to fly easily and display great agility. They also have strong feet and legs. They tend to be hyperactive and clownish in personality both in captivity and the wild.
The multi-coloured Rainbow Lorikeet was one of the species of parrots appearing in the first edition of The Parrots of the World and also in John Gould's lithographs of the Birds of Australia. Then and now, lories and lorikeets are described[by whom?] as some of the most beautiful species of parrot.
In the wild, lorikeets feed on nectar and pollen from plants and flowers. A companion lorikeet however requires a special diet, which makes them less than ideal for a beginner bird owner. A companion bird's diet should consist of a nectar replacement diet, which are available commercially or can be made by the owner. There are two main types of nectar replacement, namely wet mix and dry mix. These mixes come in powder form, the former requires to be mixed with water to create a porridge-like consistency, the latter is to be fed as is. If feeding dry mix, plenty of fresh drinking water needs to be made available for the bird. If the bird is fed on wet mix, their requirements for drinking will be reduced, as the feed contains a large amount of water, however fresh drinking water should still be made available.
Companion lorikeets also need their diet supplemented with fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis. A variety of different coloured fruit and vegetables should be made available. A favourite of lorikeets appears to be spinach or silverbeet leaves, and will provide calcium for the bird. Due to the shape of their beak and tongue, rarely will a lorikeet use a cuttlefish for calcium intake. Other kinds of fruits and vegetables frequently enjoyed by lorikeets include apples, pears, corn on the cob, berries, grapes (only to be fed in small amounts as the high iron content in grapes can cause liver damage), pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and citrus fruits once a week. Honey is also a favourite of lorikeets, and can be used as a treat or a reward when training a bird.
Do not feed a lorikeet (or any other bird) avocado, onion, chocolate, caffeine or alcohol. These foods contain chemicals which are lethal to birds.
Due to the largely liquid diet of lorikeets, their droppings are also of a very liquid nature, making them one of the messier companion birds to keep.
The Ultramarine Lorikeet is endangered. It is now one of the 50 rarest birds in the world. The Blue Lorikeet is classified as vulnerable. The introduction of European rats to the small island habitats of these birds is a major cause of their endangerment. Various conservation efforts have been made to relocate some of these birds to locations free of predation and habitat destruction.
Green-naped Lorikeet (subspecies of Rainbow Lorikeet)
Australian Rainbow Lorikeet (subspecies of Rainbow Lorikeet)
- Low, Rosemary (1998). Hancock House Encyclopedia of the Lories. Hancock House. pp. 85–87. ISBN 0-88839-413-6.
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- Astuti, Dwi; Azuma,Noriko; Suzuki, Hitoshi ; Higashi, Seigo (2006). "Phylogenetic relationships within parrots (Psittacidae) inferred from mitochondrial cytochrome-b gene sequences.". Zoological Science 23 (2): 191–98. doi:10.2108/zsj.23.191. PMID 16603811.
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- "UNEP-WCMC Species Database Lorius amabilis". Unep-wcmc.org. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
- "UNEP-WCMC Species Database Lorius tibialis". Unep-wcmc.org. Retrieved 2013-02-09.
- Steadman D, (2006). Extinction and Biogeography in Tropical Pacific Birds, University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-77142-7
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Loriinae|
- ARKive - images and movies of the blue lorikeet/tahitian lory (Vini peruviana)
- Texts on Wikisource: