Rainbow Lorikeet 2: In Western Australia

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Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) is a small, brightly coloured parrot that is very noisy, continuously screeching while in flight. In Australia it favours open forest and woodland habitats, although it adapts well to urban areas including parks and gardens.

In Perth, the subspecies (T. h. moluccanus) was thought to originate from less than ten captive birds. It soon became free flying, numbering about 54 in the mid 1980s. By 2002 the population has exploded to at least 10,000.

The birds feed on seeds, fruits, nectar, pollen and flower parts from more than 20 plant species in Perth. These include lemon-scented gums (Eucalyptus citriodora), spotted gums (E. maculata), cotton palms (Washingtonia filifera), date palms (Phoenix canariensis), coral trees (Erythrina indica) and figs (Ficus spp). They have also been observed feeding from native jarrah (E. marginata), marri (Corymbia calophylla), and sheoak (Allocasuarina spp). Lorikeets also feed on lerps (scale insects covered in a sweet exudates) and mulberries, and recently they have been noted feeding on grapes, figs, loquats and nectarines in Perth suburbs.

It has become a pest of fruit crops like grapes, apple, stone fruits, citrus and tropical fruits in Queensland, NT, NSW and northern Victoria.

The above is from the fact sheet issued by the Western Australia’s Department of Agriculture. It has been brought to out attention by Ilsa Sharp. The image of the Rainbow Lorikeet in an Eucalyptus tree in Tasmania is by YC.

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