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Rainbow Lorikeet  

Also Known As: Rainbow Lory; Green-naped Lorikeet (T.h. hematodus); Mitchell's Lorikeet (T.h. mitchellii); Forsten's Lorikeet (T.h. forsteni); Edward's Lorikeet, Blue-faced Lorikeet (T.h. capistratus); Weber's Lorikeet (T.h. weberi); Coconut Lory, Massena's Lory (T.h. massena); Swainson's Lorikeet, Blue Mountain Lorikeet (T.h. moluccanus)

Swainson’s Blue Mountain Lory (T.h. moluccanus) perched on vertical branch

Credit: © Steve Milpacher

Did You Know?
The Rainbow Lorikeet is one of the most abundant parrots on earth with over 5,000,000 in its worldwide population.

Species Profile


Size: Adult Weight:
26cm (10 in) 100-157g (3.5-5.5 oz)

Races including nominate:
twenty: T.h. haematodus, T.h. mitchellii, T.h. forsteni, T.h. septentrionalis, T.h. djampeanus, T.h. stresemanni, T.h. fortis, T.h. weberi, T.h. capistratus, T.h. flavotectus, T.h. rosenbergii, T.h. nigrogularis, T.h. intermedius, T.h. micropteryx, T.h. caeruleiceps, T.h. flavicans, T.h. nesophilus, T.h. massena, T.h. deplanchii, T.h. moluccanus

Colourization Adult:
T.h. haematodus: both adults brown/black head with lilac/blue streaks on face; collar yellow/green; red breast banded with blue/black; dark green abdomen; green/yellow thighs to undertail coverts; green upperparts and tail; orange underwing coverts; yellow, wide band under the wing. Bill orange/red. Eye dark orange. T.h. rosenbergii: both adults red band bordering the broad yellow collar; head more evidently streaked lilac/blue; wide purple/blue barring on breast; dark purple abdomen; underwing stripe orange. T.h. micropteryx: both adults differ from haematodus by paler body colour; banding on breast narrower; collar more green. T.h. caeruleiceps: both adults strong lilac/blue streaking on entire crown and sides of head; orange/red breast, thinly barred with blue/black; blue/black upper abdomen; lower abdomen orange/red with more evident blue/black barring. T.h. nigrogularis: both adults as in caeruleiceps but larger in size, with blue streaks on head much darker. T.h. massena: both adults as in micropteryx, but have strong brown wash on occiput and nape; collar less yellowish; paler red breast with fine bars of blue/black. T.h. flavicans: both adults have varying plumage with bronze/yellow to dull green upperparts and undertail coverts; collar yellow; red/brown occiput; purple/blue streaked forehead, lores and area around eyes, remainder of head black, with grey/green streaking; bright red breast with minimal barring. T.h. nesophilus: both adults as in flavicans but with green upper body, undertail coverts and tail which never vary to bronze/yellow. T.h. deplanchii: both adults as in massena but with more blue streaking on head, occiput and nape less brown, and less yellow on thighs to undertail coverts; blue/black markings vary on upper abdomen. T.h. moluccanus: both adults strong purple/blue streaking on entire head; yellow/orange breast with barring minimal or absent; collar yellow/green; deep purple/blue abdomen. T.h. septentrionalis: both adults as in moluccanus, but purple/blue streaking on head brighter; shorter tail. T.h. rubritorquis: both adults black throat and foreneck with streaking absent; collar wide and orange/red, reaching down sides of neck to connect with orange/red breast; breast barring absent; purple/blue hindneck, with varying red marks; green/black abdomen; underwing band wider. T.h. flavotectus: both adults green head with purple/blue streaking on forecrown to cheeks; yellow to deep orange variability on breast; collar wide and yellow; dark green to green/black abdomen; yellow underwing coverts with varying orange markings. T.h. capistratus: both adults as in flavotectus but with more green collar; breast pale yellow; dark green abdomen. T.h. weberi: both adults in general green; light green/blue streaking on forehead and lores, the remainder of head streaked with brighter green; yellow/green underwing coverts; smaller in size. T.h. fortis: both adults black/brown head with purple/blue streaking on forecrown to cheeks; green lores, throat, line above to behind eye and occiput; bright yellow breast with no barring but with orange/red markings; dark green abdomen, with occasional blue/black tints; yellow underwing coverts. T.h. mitchellii: both adults black/brown head with grey/green streaks on crown to cheeks; red/brown wash on occiput; red breast with minimal or no barring; yellow/green collar; purple/black abdomen; smaller in size. T.h. forsteni: both adults as in mitchelli but with darker red breast; purple/blue streaking on forehead and cheeks; more yellow collar bordered on hindneck by purple/blue; purple abdomen; green barring on thighs and flanks minimal; larger in size. T.h. djampeanus: both adults differ from forsteni by head being darker and more evidently streaked brighter purple/blue. T.h. stresemanni: both adults as in forsteni but with paler orange/red breast; green wash on occiput; feathers of mantle having yellow/orange bases.

Colourization Juvenile:
T.h. haematodus: duller than adult. Bill brown/black. Cere and eye ring grey/white, eye brown. T.h. rosenbergii: as in adults. T.h. micropteryx: as in adults. T.h. caeruleiceps: as in adults. T.h. nigrogularis: as in adults. T.h. massena: as in adults. T.h. flavicans: as in adults. T.h. nesophilus: as in adults. T.h. deplanchii: as in adults. T.h. moluccanus: as in adults. T.h. septentrionalis: as in adults. T.h. rubritorquis: as in adults. T.h. flavotectus: as in adults. T.h. capistratus: as in adults. T.h. weberi: as in adults. T.h. fortis: as in adults. T.h. mitchellii: as in adults. T.h. forsteni: as in adults. T.h. djampeanus: as in adults. T.h. stresemanni: as in adults.

Call: Repeated notes, sharp, rolling while in flight. Shrill chattering while feeding. Soft notes at rest.

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Recent Academic Research: Google Scholar - search results


Content Sources:

Article "Rainbow Lorikeets," by Mike Owen

Article "Rainbow Lories in American Aviculture," by Margarethe Warden

The Online Monograph of the Lories and Lorikeets


BirdLife International

Internet Bird Collection

ML Media Collection Catalogue 82332, Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus, Loetscher, Fred W., Jr., Queensland, Australia, Feb. 5 1969, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Parrots: A Guide to Parrots of the World, Juniper and Parr, 1998.

Parrots of the World, Forshaw and Cooper, 1989.

Parrots of the World, Forshaw, 2006.

Parrots in Aviculture, Low, 1992.