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Saving the Ultramarine Lorikeet

The Rainbow Lorikeet

Parrots 151 - August 2010

by Pauline James

A stunning and captivating bird in the wild, as breeders, and as a pet

The Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus), is simply one of the most striking, vibrant and extrovert parrots found in the wild, and along the eastern coastal regions of Australia, they are everywhere! It is just wonderful to report on a parrot species that is thriving, and with an estimated worldwide population thought to exceed 5,000,000, they are not only the most common and widespread parrot in Australia, but are one of the most abundant in the world as well.

There are three separate sub-species of the Rainbow Lorikeet found in Australia, and 21 altogether, spread over the south-western Pacific, including Western New Guinea, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Soloman Islands, Vanuatu, and many of the smaller Indonesian and South Pacific Islands. Some of the sub-populations based on Indonesian islands aren’t faring so well as their mainland cousins, and their status in many cases is on the decline. These include, T.h. mitchelli found on Bali and Lombok, T.h. djampeanus found on Tanahjampea Island, T.h. rosenbergii found on Biak Island, and T.h. forsteni found on the Lesser Sunda Islands. In addition, the Rainbow Lorikeet has also been introduced to Hong Kong, and numbers of them were accidentally liberated in Perth, Western Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand, where they are considered pests.

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