Chng Geam Liang rescued a female Blue-crowned Hanging-parrot (Loriculus galgulus) when she crashed onto a wall in a public place in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia in late January 2015. It appeared unhurt but dazed.
The hanging-parrot was fed “banana, papaya, Jack fruit (didn’t touch the grape) and seeds (black and white sunflower and other smaller ones). It loved to bathe so I’ve gotten it a tray and from what I read it’s important to keep things clean as she easily succumbs to infection,” wrote Geam Liang.
“Does anyone else have any useful experience and sharing on its upkeep? … I’m also not optimistic that it can survive if I were to set it free – assuming it can sustain her flight and not go crashing down and if there were dogs/cats around that would be the end of it.”
Aviculturist Lee Chiu San responded as follows: “The Blue-crowned Hanging-parrot, even though very closely related to the lovebirds, is a nectar feeder. You should raise it the way you raise a lorikeet – which is a messy process. And because you are mixing batches of food for just one little bird, whereas I used to do it for about half a dozen pigeon-sized lorikeets each morning, I don’t know how you are going to get the portions down to manageable sizes. Anyway, here goes, with my recipe for feeding big lories. You can adjust the proportions down accordingly for your little bird.
“The staple diet would be a couple of slices of soft fruit (papaya, apple, grapes, even though I am surprised that you said the bird would not eat any) and a mixture of cooked rice sweetened with nectar mix. How to make nectar mix? Go to a pharmacy and get a can of food for invalids or infants. I use Complan, but I am sure any good baby formula would do. I usually make up enough to fill a beer mug, but there is no way you need that amount for a day’s feeding. If in doubt, make the mixture thinner, not thicker.
“Birds cannot digest baby formula that is too thick. If it is too thin, they simply have to consume more to get the required amount of energy. Then to this mug, add half a teaspoonful of rose syrup. Also stir in about a cup of cooked rice, well mashed up. In the case of your bird, I suggest that you pour this lot into an ice-cube tray, freeze the mixture, and defrost one cube to feed it each day.
“Now, you said that this bird eats sunflower seeds. This is most unusual for a Blue-crowned Hanging-parrot. Are you sure that this is actually the species you have? Could it be possible that you have actually got a pet lovebird that escaped? There are so many different artificially-created breeds of lovebirds in so many colours that you might have been mistaken. If you actually have a lovebird, feeding is much simpler. Just go to the nearest pet shop, buy a packet of budgerigar or cockatiel seed of a reputable international brand, and offer it to the bird. You can supplement this with a couple of slices of fruit each day, and that will be all. Plus of course fresh water and a piece of cuttlefish bone to nibble on.”
Chiu San further added: “About nectar feeding birds. I forgot to add that feeding nectar is messy, and it goes rancid very quickly in our tropical weather. Feeding containers have to be removed and thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day. The birds also splatter the mixture and wipe their beaks on perches and the bars of the cage. All my lories and lorikeets used to be housed in outdoor aviaries which were hosed down daily. If Geam Liang does not think the bird will survive if released, I really hope that it is a case of mistaken identity, and that you have a lovebird, rather than a blue-crowned hanging parrot. In our part of the world, all available lovebirds are domestically bred, take to captivity readily, and are easy to feed with commercially available seed mixtures. Yes, and being domestic pets, they would not survive if released.”
Note: Images subsequently sent by Geam Lian as shown above confirms that it is indeed a female Blue-crowned Hanging-parrot.
“When feeding local birds which are unfamiliar with imported fruits such as grapes, it helps to split the fruits to expose the edible parts,” added Chiu San.
Chng Gean Liang
Lee Chiu San