View from the Zoo: Close encounter with a colourful species of parrot
Back in November we told you about our new rainbow lorikeet exhibit opening. The developers added an extension along with making several modifications to the old Bongo Warrior's hut to turn it into a bird aviary.
The lorikeets have settled in well over the winter season and visitors have been able to enter the aviary to get up close to these colourful birds.
New for the summer season, visitors are able to purchase a small pot of nectar to hand feed the birds. We have quite a lot of the birds so they can be very noisy at times! They are extremely fast at flying too, so you definitely experience a close encounter with them whilst you’re in the aviary.
As their name suggests, rainbow lorikeets are a very colourful species of parrot and they are natively found within eastern Australia.
They can often be found in pairs and are very territorial around their feeding and nesting areas. Their diet consists of fruit, pollen and nectar and they use their tongues to facilitate feeding. The end of their tongues are equipped with a special brush-tip that helps them to feed on pollen and nectar. This is why they are also sometimes referred to as ‘brush-tongued parrots’.
This species is fairly widespread and is classed as least concern, however its population is decreasing due to habitat loss and the capture for the pet trade.
Habitat loss would result in the lorikeets having to search further afield for food and nesting sites. It can be identified from the other species of rainbow lorikeet as it lacks barring (stripes) on its front.
The rainbow lorikeet is also sometimes classed as a pest due to several reasons. They can be aggressive towards other native birds and compete with them for nesting sites.
Due to their strong liking for fruit, the lorikeets also eat fruit which is being grown in orchards, much to the dismay of farmers! Also, in areas where there are large numbers of the birds, they will create lots of noise and faeces which often annoys local residents.