Rainbow Lorikeet
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. rainbow lorikeet
Rainbow Lorikeets are often available from
Burwood Pets & Birds
(03) 9809 1212
Burwood Pets & Birds
1415 Toorak Rd Camberwell, 3124
    Rainbow lorikeet photo
  • An Australian Lorikeet                               (Click on photo to enlarge)
  • Scientific Name: Trichoglossus haematodus moluccanus
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin: About  20 Trichoglossus haematodus sub-species in Australia, New Guinea and surrounding islands.  In Australian aviaries:  T. h. moluccanus (Rainbow lorikeet)  &  T. h. rubritorquis (Red collared Lorikeet)
  • Origin / Distribution: Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia and some of the Pacific islands
  • Habitat In Wild: Diverse including suburban environments.
  • Status In Wild: Common. Has adapted well to suburban parks and gardens.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity: Common
  • Age To Sexual Maturity: 18 - 24 months
  • Lifespan (estimate): approx. 15 or more years
  • Sexing: Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • Colour mutations:  Yes
  • Availability: Pet shops and bird dealers
  • Temperament: Most popular of the lorikeets in captivity.  Suitable bird for those wanting to start keeping lorikeets. They are generally hardy and long lived.  Good breeders.  Best kept one pair per aviary.  Rainbow Lorikeets like the company of people and are often kept as a companion bird or pet.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $70
  • Description Of Adults: Largest of the Australian lorikeets
  1. Length: Approx. 310 mm (or approx 12.5 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo above - top right of page. (Click on photo to enlarge).
  3. Weight: Approx. 140 gms (or approx 5 ozs)
  4. Photo courtesy of Burwood Pets and Birds (03) 9889 6469.
Aviary Notes:

Level Of Knowledge Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Specialist Breeders Only.

Government Regulations & By-Laws: Refer to " Government Laws " web page.

Housing Requirements: Refer to " Lorikeets & Lories " web page for general details on the housing of Lorikeets & Lories or read on for specific details for this parrot.

Best kept one pair per aviary due to their aggressive nature.  Has been successful as a colony in a large aviary. Young can be the subject of attack in a colony situation and may have to be removed as soon as they fledge.  Not to be housed with the Red collared Lorikeet or the Scaly breasted Lorikeet due to the possibility of hybridization.

A suspended cage is popular for these birds. An aviary of about 3 metres (10 feet) long is ideal for these birds.  Suspended cage size should be at least 1200mm long, 900mmwide and 1200mm high (4 x 3 x 4 ft).  The suspended cage can also be about 3 metres long.

A wide range of bird toys and "bird gyms" can be seen at good retail bird dealers and pet shops.  Bird toys and "bird gyms" can be placed in an outdoor aviary not just indoor cages.  Most parrots, including Lorikeets, love to play with bird toys and "bird gyms" and it gives them a reason to be active and entertain themselves. Along with the physical activity, it also gives them some mental exercise and mental stimulation i.e. environmental enrichment.

The Rainbow Lorikeet is best kept as one pair per aviary but has been successful in a colony in a large aviary.  Not to be housed with the Red collared lorikeet or the Scaly breasted lorikeet due to the possibility of hybridization.

Diet / Feeding: Refer to " Lorikeets & Lories " web page for general details on the feeding of Lorikeets & Lories or read on for specific details for this parrot.

As per "Lorikeets & Lories" web page.

Typical lorikeet diet is required.  Many quality commercial dry mixes are available from bird dealers, pet shops and bird clubs.  The use of wet and dry mix requires daily attention to thorough cleaning and hygiene.  Abide by the "use by date" and store according to the manufacturers directions.  Special attention has to be paid to the water bowl as lories and lorikeets often deposit food into the water bowl.  The wet food mix should be removed from the cage before dark.  The birds should not have access to wet foods left in a cage overnight.  Dry food mix must always be available.

The Rainbow Lorikeet is partial to fruits such as apple and pear. These fruits are crushed in the beak and the juice is consumed and the non fluid portion discarded.
The flowers from non-toxic native trees and shrubs such as Grevillia, Callistemon and eucalypt can be placed in the aviary for the birds to play with and obtain some nutritional value.

Nesting: A basic overview only. Dimensions are typical / average and can vary widely, influenced by the owner's preferences and the birds preferences. Parent bird's preferences can also be influenced by the size and type of nest-box / log in which the bird was hatched and reared. If space allows, offering a choice of sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, and placed in various locations within the aviary, can allow the parent birds to make their own choice. Once a pair has chosen a specific nest-box/log and been successful in it, offer that one to them each breeding season. Try and keep that one for their exclusive use. Once a pair has chosen its log or nest-box, the other ones can generally be removed. If the "spare" boxes are to be removed and moved to another flight, ensure the log / nest-box is cleaned to ensure the receptacle has the minimal contamination of mites, parasites and pathogens.

  • Nesting months: July to December.  May breed year round if conditions are suitable.
  • Log / Nest-box:
    • Length / depth 300 mm (or approx. 12 inches)
    • Log internal diameter approx. 200 mm. (or approx. 8 inches)
    • Nest-box internal dimensions approx. 200 mm square (or approx. 8 inches square)
    • Diameter of entrance hole approx. 55 - 60 mm (or approx. 2.25 - 2.5 inches)
    • Inspection hole (square or round) 100 mm (or approx  4 inches)
    • A removable top / lid can be a useful access point for inspections and for cleaning.
    • Location and height of log / nest-box = in a sheltered part of the aviary and at about 1.5 - 1.8 metres height, but not too close to the roof to cause heat problems in the hotter months.
    • Angle of log or nest box =  Usually a vertical nestbox.
  • Nesting log / nest-box material: Decomposed non-toxic saw dust, wood shavings or other suitable material/s.
  • Who incubates the egg/s: Hen / cock / both share.

Nest boxes are easy to clean, cheap and easy to replace when they become soiled or damaged.
The nest box is left in the aviary or suspended cage year round as Lories and Lorikeets will roost in the nest during the non-breeding season.
Timber nest-boxes generally require a climbing structure attached inside the box below the entrance hole. Both logs and nests need an entrance hole/opening of between 50 - 80mm diameter and about 100 mm (about 4 inches) from the top. The exact size of the entrance hole depends on the size of the species. Many species of parrots like the entrance hole to be just big enough to squeeze through. An appropriate size entrance hole will help to give the birds a feeling of security and confidence to effectively start and raise a clutch of young.

More details on parrot nestboxes/logs and a selection of parrot nestbox/log photos can be found on the "nests", "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" web pages.  Click on "Up" then "Nests" then "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" in the navigation bars. 

Breeding: Egg Colour White.  Clutch/s per year 2, or more if conditions are suitable.  Eggs per nest 2.  Incubation approx. 24 days.  Fledge approx. 8 - 9 weeks.  Independent approx. another 1 - 2 weeks.

Nest inspection of the Rainbow lorikeet is easy and generally well tolerated especially in birds housed in cages.

Pair bonding is generally strong.  Aggression can often be observed between newly introduced birds and if a pair (particularly the hen) is not compatible, injury or death of one bird can occur.

Most parent Rainbow Lorikeets are tolerant of nest inspections and will allow the nest material to be changed while the young are still in the nest if the nest is fouled by the babies waste.  Wet, cold and probably smelly nest material can be detrimental to the health and growth of the young and its removal and the placement of new nest material is worth the effort.

Generally good prolific breeders.  Both parent birds feed the young.

Young can be hand raised for the pet or companion bird trade.

Artificial incubation and hand rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site. It is too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.

Health Issues: Refer to "Avian Health Issues" web page for information and references.

  • Worming and parasite control and Quarantine requirements of new bird/s or sick bird/s are considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web site. Refer "Avian Health Issues" web page option.
  • Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace. Keep updating your knowledge and skills.

General References: Refer to references listed on "Book References" web page.

Specific References:

  • Australian Aviculture
  • A/A Vol 56 No. 9 Sept 2002 Page197-199 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 53 No. 2 Feb 1999 Page 31-36
  • A/A Vol 35 No. 10 Oct 1981 Page 220-221
  • A/A Vol 28 No. 12 Dec 1974 Page 184-185
  • A/A Vol 28 No. 11 Nov 1974 Page 169-170
  • A/A Vol 26 No. 10 Oct 1972 Page 173-175 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 22 No 9 Sept 1968 Page 136-138.
  • A/A Vol 12 No 7 Jul 1958 Page 89-92.
  • A/A Vol 12 No 5 May 1958 Page 64-67.
  • A/A Vol  7 No 7 Jul 1953 Page 78.
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 18 Issue 9. Jun-Jul 2005 Page 534-537 (Dilute melanistic mutation ?).
  • ABK Vol 15 Issue 2. Apr-May 2002 Page 91-93 (Part 2).
  • ABK Vol 15 Issue 1 .Feb-Mar 2002 Page 25-29 (Part 1).
  • ABK Vol 14 Issue 9. Jun-Jul 2001 Page 487-491
  • ABK Vol 13 Issue 2. Apr-May 2000 Page 99
  • ABK Vol 12 Issue 7. Feb-Mar 1999 Page 329-330
  • ABK Vol 10 Issue 7. Feb-Mar1997 Page 326-329
  • ABK Vol   6 Issue 7. Feb-Mar 1993 Page 321-326

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