Thursday, November 4, 2010

Creature Feature: Rainbow Lorikeets.

Winter is depressing. After fall, everything starts to turn black and white. If you're in Australia or nearer the Equator than I am, good for you. If it's summer down south where you are, I'm jealous. For everyone else, here's a little something to brighten up your day:

Those cute little parrots are Rainbow Lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus). They are native to Australia, Indonesia, and that area of the world in general. They eat seeds, pollen and fruits, but most awesome walk-in lorikeet gardens will give you little cups of nectar. These birds have tongues like little sponges; the nectar cup will be gone in no time, and you will have to buy another just to keep the endearing little fellows around.

Dude...that parrot had ACID for breakfast.

There are several subspecies of Rainbow Lorikeet. These all have subtly different colorations, mostly relating to feather brightness/darkness. The most popular subspecies is T. h. moluccanus, AKA Swainson's lorikeet; it has the cleanest and brightest colors of the bunch.

Rainbow Lorikeets are sometimes considered pests. They are not native to New Zealand, Hong Kong, or Amsterdam, but do just fine even when so far away from home. They strip trees of fresh fruit and compete with many of Australia's native bird species for resources. The parrots may be ecologically damaging, but we wish our pests were this colorful. 

You can also have Rainbow Lorikeets as pets, but given their tendency to spread like a multicolored plague, you might want to reconsider.

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