Lories and lorikeets

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Lories and lorikeets
Rainbow Lorikeet (H. t. moluccanus)
at Nelson Bay, NSW, Australia.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Superfamily: Psittacoidea
Family: Psittaculidae
Subfamily: Loriinae
Tribe: Loriini
Selby, 1836
Genera

Chalcopsitta
Eos
Pseudeos
Trichoglossus
Psitteuteles
Lorius
Phigys
Vini
Glossopsitta
Charmosyna
Oreopsittacus
Neopsittacus

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.

Etymology[edit]

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".[1]

Taxonomy[edit]

Traditionally, lories and lorikeets have either been classified as the subfamily, Loriinae, or as a family on their own, Loriidae,[2] 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).[3][4][5][6][7]

Two main groups are recognized within the lories and lorikeets. The first consist of the genus Charmosyna[3][4] and the closely related Pacific Ocean genera Phigys and Vini.[3] All remaining genera, except Oreopsittacus are in the second group.[3][4] The position of Oreopsittacus is unknown, although one study suggests it could be a third group next to the other two.[7]

Species[edit]

Classification of parrots in the subfamily, Loriinae:

Lories and lorikeets
 
 

Charmosyna


 
 

Vini


 

Phigys




 
 

Neopsittacus


 
 

Lorius


 

Glossopsitta


 
 

Chalcopsitta


 
 

Pseudeos


 
 

Eos


 

Trichoglossus


 

Psitteuteles







 

Oreopsittacus (position uncertain)



 

Cyclopsitta and Psittaculirostris and Budgerigar


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[3][4][5][6][7]

Morphology[edit]

Tongue of a Lory

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.[citation needed] They also have strong feet and legs. They tend to be hyperactive and clownish in personality both in captivity and the wild.[citation needed]

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.

Diet[edit]

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. (Honey can be dangerous to lorikeets as it can or may contain harmful bacteria that can cause great damage to its health, also citrus fruits can cause Diarrhea in lorikeets which can be harmful due to how small their intestinal tracts are)

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.

Conservation[edit]

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.[10] Various conservation efforts have been made to relocate some of these birds to locations free of predation and habitat destruction.

In literature[edit]

A "Lory" famously appears in Chapter III of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Alice argues with the Lory about its age.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Low, Rosemary (1998). Hancock House Encyclopedia of the Lories. Hancock House. pp. 85–87. ISBN 0-88839-413-6. 
  2. ^ Forshaw, Joseph M.; Cooper, William T. (1981) [1973, 1978]. Parrots of the World (corrected second ed.). David & Charles, Newton Abbot, London. ISBN 0-7153-7698-5. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Wright, T.F.; Schirtzinger E. E.; Matsumoto T.; Eberhard J. R.; Graves G. R.; Sanchez J. J.; Capelli S.; Muller H.; Scharpegge J.; Chambers G. K.; Fleischer R. C. (2008). "A Multilocus Molecular Phylogeny of the Parrots (Psittaciformes): Support for a Gondwanan Origin during the Cretaceous". Mol Biol Evol 25 (10): 2141–56. doi:10.1093/molbev/msn160. PMC 2727385. PMID 18653733. 
  4. ^ a b c d 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. 
  5. ^ a b de Kloet, RS; de Kloet SR (2005). "The evolution of the spindlin gene in birds: Sequence analysis of an intron of the spindlin W and Z gene reveals four major divisions of the Psittaciformes". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 36 (3): 706–721. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.03.013. PMID 16099384. 
  6. ^ a b Tokita, M; Kiyoshi T and Armstrong KN (2007). "Evolution of craniofacial novelty in parrots through developmental modularity and heterochrony". Evolution & Development 9 (6): 590–601. doi:10.1111/j.1525-142X.2007.00199.x. PMID 17976055. 
  7. ^ a b c Christidis, L., L.; R. Schodde, D. D. Shaw, and S. F. Maynes. (1991). "Christidis, L., R. Schodde, D. D. Shaw, and S. F. Maynes. 1991. Relationships among the Australo-Papuan parrots, lorikeets, and cockatoos (Aves, Psittaciformes) - protein evidence.". Condor 93: 302–17. doi:10.2307/1368946. 
  8. ^ "UNEP-WCMC Species Database Lorius amabilis". Unep-wcmc.org. Retrieved 2013-02-09. 
  9. ^ "UNEP-WCMC Species Database Lorius tibialis". Unep-wcmc.org. Retrieved 2013-02-09. 
  10. ^ Steadman D, (2006). Extinction and Biogeography in Tropical Pacific Birds, University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-77142-7

External links[edit]