Red-collared lorikeet

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Red-collared lorikeet
Red-collared lorikeet in Katherine, Northern Territory
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittaculidae
Genus: Trichoglossus
T. rubritorquis
Binomial name
Trichoglossus rubritorquis

Trichoglossus rubritorquatus Finsch
Trichoglossus rubritorques Salvadori

The red-collared lorikeet (Trichoglossus rubritorquis) is a species of parrot found in wooded habitats in northern Australia (north-eastern Western Australia, northern Northern Territory and far north-western Queensland). It was previously considered a subspecies of the rainbow lorikeet, but today most major authorities consider them as separate species.[3][4] No other member of the rainbow lorikeet group has an orange-red collar over the nape.

Every year at the end of the dry season in Darwin, many of them display symptoms of apparent drunkenness. What causes this condition is unclear,[5] though it is thought to be most likely due to a seasonal virus. Intoxication with fermented nectar has been ruled out.[6]


Nicholas Aylward Vigors and Thomas Horsfield described the red-collared lorikeet in 1827.[7] The species name is derived from the Latin words ruber "red" and torquis "neck".

Molecular analysis using mitochondrial cytochrome b showed the red-collared lorikeet is most closely related to a lineage that gave rise to the marigold lorikeet and sunset lorikeet of Indonesia. It is more distantly related to the rainbow lorikeet, the two distinct lineages colonising Australia independently.[8]

No subspecies are recognized,[4] and there is no regional variation.[9]

"Red-collared lorikeet" has been designated as the official common name for the species by the International Ornithologists' Union (IOC).[4] Other common names include orange-naped lorikeet and (incorrectly) blue bonnet.[10]


The red-collared lorikeet measures around 26 centimetres (10 in) long.[9] The feathers of the head and throat are dark brown with blue shafts. There is an orange-red band on the back of the neck. The chest is orange with red. The base of the hindneck is dark blue. The wings are green. The bill is red. The legs and feet are grey-brown.[10] The sexes are similar in plumage while the juvenile has duller plumage and a dark bill.[9]

The red-collared lorikeet is distinguished from the rainbow lorikeet by the latter's green rather than red nape, the lack of a blue mantle and more yellow-green underparts. The two may both occur where their ranges abut east of the Gulf of Carpentaria.[9]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Red-collared Lorikeet - Lyons.jpg

The red-collared lorikeet is found across northern Australia, from King Sound in Western Australia to the Gulf of Carpentaria. It lives in woodland, open forest and rainforest, and has adapted to urban environments readily, being found in towns and cities.[11] The species is sedentary, though follows food supply, such as banksias in flower in April and May on Groote Eylandt.[9]


The species nests throughout its range, in hollows in large trees, generally some distance above the ground. One or two broods are laid each year between August and January or March to June. The clutch consists of two matte white eggs, 23 millimetres (0.91 in) wide by 27 millimetres (1.1 in) long.[11]


The red-collared lorikeet feeds on the flower heads of the Darwin woollybutt (Eucalyptus miniata).[10] It sometimes feeds in the company of the varied lorikeet.[9]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Trichoglossus rubritorquis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22725327A94890337. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22725327A94890337.en. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  2. ^ Australian Biological Resources Study (1 March 2012). "Subspecies Trichoglossus haematodus rubritorquis Vigors & Horsfield, 1827". Australian Faunal Directory. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Australian Government. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  3. ^ Dickinson, E. C. (editor) (2003). The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. 3d edition. Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-6536-X
  4. ^ a b c Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Parrots, cockatoos". World Bird List Version 9.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  5. ^ AAP and AG STaff (27 September 2011). "Drunken parrot season begins in Darwin". Australian Geographic. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  6. ^ Billias, Maria (15 November 2015). "Research reveals Darwin lorikeets suffer from virus and are not drunk". NT News. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  7. ^ Vigors, Nicholas Aylward; Horsfield, Thomas (1827). "A description of the Australian birds in the collection of the Linnean Society; with an attempt at arranging them according to their natural affinities". Transactions of the Linnean Society of London. 15: 170–331 [291]. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1826.tb00115.x.
  8. ^ Braun, Michael P.; Reinschmidt, Matthias; Datzmann, Thomas; Waugh, David; Zamora, Rafael; Häbich, Annett; Neves, Luís; Gerlach, Helga; Arndt, Thomas; Mettke-Hofmann, Claudia; Sauer-Gürth, Hedwig; Wink, Michael (2017). "Influences of oceanic islands and the Pleistocene on the biogeography and evolution of two groups of Australasian parrots (Aves: Psittaciformes: Eclectus roratus, Trichoglossus haematodus complex). Rapid evolution and implications for taxonomy and conservation". European Journal of Ecology. 3 (2): 47–66. doi:10.1515/eje-2017-0014.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Juniper, Tony; Mike Parr (2010). Parrots: A Guide to Parrots of the World. A & C Black. pp. 229–30. ISBN 978-1-4081-3575-4.
  10. ^ a b c Lendon, Alan H. (1973). Australian Parrots in Field and Aviary (2nd ed.). Sydney: Angus and Robertson. pp. 8–11. ISBN 0-207-12424-8.
  11. ^ a b Beruldsen, Gordon (2003). Australian Birds their Nests and Eggs. Queensland Australia: G.Beruldsen. p. 245. ISBN 978-0-646-42798-0.