Varied Lorikeets aka Red-crowned Lorikeets
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The Varied Lorikeet (Psitteuteles versicolor) is endemic to Northern Australia, with a distribution range across northern Australia from the Kimberleys to Cape York. They are fairly common in the west and central part of this range, but are growing very rare towards the east. In some parts of their range the birds are nomadic following the supply of flowering or fruiting trees and shrubs. Like other lorikeets, the diet consists predominately of nectar, pollen and fruit.
The mainly green Varied Lorikeet averages 7.5 inches (19 cm) in length and weights around 2 oz (55 to 60 grams). No mutations are known of this species. Both sexes look alike making visual sexing very difficult, however, the females tend to be slightly duller in color than the males.
Birds are sexually mature at 12 to 14 months.
Keeping the Varied Lorikeets:
The Varied Lorikeet is one of the rarer lorikeets kept in Australian aviaries and is almost unknown outside of Australia. As they are so rare, any captive lorikeets are usually put in a breeding program and little is known pertaining to its pet potential - although it is assumed that they share the delightful personality of the other lorikeet species.
Because of its relatively low numbers in aviculture, all young produced are very much in demand with aviculturalists in Australia. However, this lorikeet is regarded as the most difficult lory to breed, and it is recommended that only experienced aviculturists attempt to incorporate this species into their breeding program.
Housing: They are best housed as single pairs as they can become quarrelsome during the breeding season, which in aviaries is from July to October, somewhat later than in the wild.
Nesting Box: A small nest box is adequate, 20 cm by 20 cm by 30 cm deep, with a 7 cm opening. An absorbent nesting material needs to be used, such as sawdust, to absorb the runny droppings.
Incubation & Chick Rearing: The average clutch consists of four eggs, which are incubated by the female for about 22 days. Both parents share in feeding of the chicks, which fledge after 40 days. The young become independent abouut 2 weeks after fledging.
Diet: A typical lorikeet diet is needed, as described on this page.
Lories as Pets or in Aviculture:
Due to their endangered status, any suitable specimen that cannot be released back into their natural habitat (native range) should preferably be placed into a well-managed breeding program to ensure the continued survival of this species.
Lories are typically quite easily bred, so many lory species are readily available. Their expected lifespan is 28+ years, provided their specific dietary needs are met. They reach maturity at 8 months or later. Males and females look alike and breeders depend on DNA or endoscopic sexing to determine their gender.
Positive aspects of lory ownership ...
Lories are popular companion birds due to their intelligence, entertaining personality and stunning beauty. Most stay tame, even in maturity.
They are affectionate, curious, extroverted and clowny and exhibit some unique behaviors. Some like to wrap themselves up in a blanket for sleeping. At times, they can even be seen sleeping on their backs.
They are known for their playfulness. In their eyes, everything is a toy. They love toys that make noise, such as bells. They enjoy hanging on ropes and are quite "mechanical." They like "toys" that can be taken apart -- and they are GOOD at it! Lories are very active and require large cages (preferably flights) and lots of supervised out-of-cage time.
What makes them challenging to own ...
They are capable of aggressive behavior if their territory and possessions are not respected. Housing two lories together can result in injury, unless they are a bonded pair.
They are demanding in care requirements (especially diet preparations) and require a lot of attention. Daily baths or showers should be part of their grooming regimen.
Due to their diet which consists for the most part of fruits and nectar, their droppings are very runny and messy. Special adaptations around the cage are recommended. Carpet underneath a cage will be the poorest choice of all. Everything in the vicinity of the cage should be easy to clean. This being said, lories are very trainable and, with a little patience and know-how, can be taught to eliminate in a certain area on cue. This webpage will provide you with instructions.
Their voice ranges from loud, piercing whistles and metallic "pings" to soft, high-pitched warbles and chattering.
- Talking Ability (compared to other species)
Caring for your Lory:
The bulk of their natural diet consist of nectar, flowers, fruits, pollen and seeds.
Part of their captive diet should be a good-quality commercial or home-made nectar. Please note that liquid nectar will need to be replaced several times daily - in fact, in warm weather it needs to be changed every 4 hours. The main causes of premature death in lories are infections caused by spoiled nectar and/or a poorly balanced, one-sided diet that doesn't meet the special nutritional requirements needed for good health. Excellent commercial formulas are available on this website.
Lories also love honey, pollen and fruits, such as apples, pomegranates, papaya, grapes, cantaloupe, pineapple, figs, kiwi, as well as greenfood and some vegetables, including corn-on-the-cob. Another healthful addition to their diet are flowers, including pansies, nasturtiums, roses, hibiscus, marigolds, and dandelions. All fruits, veggies and flowers should be pesticide free. Organic is always best. (For non-toxic ways to control pests in the house or garden, please visit this webpage.)
During the breeding season, rusk or biscuit softened in milk are eagerly accepted by the parents for feeding the chicks.
Other food items include brewer's yeast, oat flakes, multi-grain flakes and small quantities of millet spray; oats, canary grass seed; some sunflower (sprouted). If a balanced nutrition can't be met, vitamin and mineral supplements may need to be provided.
These lories are medium-noisy parrots whose shrill calls may annoy nearby neighbors.
Spacious, long flights are preferred, with plenty of natural (non-toxic) vegetation. Breeding pairs need to be kept singly or at least during the breeding season, breeding pairs need to be kept in separate flights. Colony keeping is possible outside the breeding season. They need to be protected from low temperatures and draughts - even after acclimatization. A roosting box should be available at all times (including outside the breeding season).
Lories are very active birds and require large cages. The minimum cage size for a single lory should be 36" H x 48" L x 24" W or to accommodate a pair the cage dimensions needs to be, at a minimum, 36" H x 60" L x 36" W. You have to remember that you need room for the many toys that lories so cherish, perches, food / water dishes, maybe a "birdy tent" -- as well as providing sufficient space for them to move around, exercise their wings. etc.
Care should be taken in cage design and placement since the birds have a tendency to squirt their waste matter, which is fairly liquid, behind them with some force. It is not recommended to place the cage behind a delicately decorated wall and on unprotected carpet. Easy-care flooring is recommended, as well as a washable wall. An acrylic panel custom-cut and placed over the wall would be a great way to protect it. The acrylic panel can easily be taken outside and hosed down. There are acrylic cages available, but lories love to climb and scramble about, so a standard, high quality powder coated cage is a better choice - as large as the space you have will allow.
In an outdoor aviary they are the easiest birds to maintain, as all of their waste can simply be hosed away, no seed hulls to sweep up or sticky, green and white droppings running down the side of the cage to scrub off. Lory droppings are mostly clear or beige. A word of caution about placing lories in mixed-species aviaries. Some lories can be very aggressive toward other birds, while others will mingle just fine. The worst is probably the Chattering Lory. They seem to take great pleasure in doing in other birds in their territory.
Lories are known for their intelligence, and they are more than happy to entertain you with the tricks that have learned. They are capable of aggressive behavior if their territory and possessions are not respected and nippiness can occur if this behavior is not managed.
Consistent training and behavioral guidance is recommended so that you can enjoy a bird free of destructive and annoying habits. Behavioral challenges that lories and lorikeets present include:
- Excessive Chewing: Any parrot will chew. In nature, they use their beak to "customize" their favorite tree, to enlarge the size of their nest in a tree hollow. Doing this keeps their beaks in good condition. The problem is excessive and undesirable chewing. Heavy chewing is not a huge problem with lories per se. Most of them never really develop any major destructive issues in that area. However, it is recommended that the owner provide their lory with plenty of "healthy" chewing opportunities (bird toys, natural wood branches, etc.) and training is necessary to teach a lory what items are "off-limits."
- Biting: Lories, as is the case with most parrots, are likely to discover their beaks as a method of "disciplining us" once they are out of the "baby stage." It really is important to learn to understand them and to guide their behavior before an undesirable behavior has been established. If this behavior is unchecked, the lory is likely to be dominating the entire family, chasing and attacking their least favorite humans. Training is vital to stop this destructive behavior.
- Screaming: Their voice ranges from loud, piercing whistles and metallic "pings" to soft, high-pitched warbles and chattering. Many of them turn into excellent talkers; some having whole sentences in their vocabulary. With a little training they can be taught to communicate with words rather than using their shrill calls for the most part. However, their natural call / voice cannot be entirely eliminated; but their occurrence can be reduced. The owner has to understand that even with training, the lory voice can get quite loud, with a high pitched screech.
Training and behavioral guidance will help your pet be the kind of companion you want it to be ...
- AvianWeb Resources: I put together web resources for you to help you understand your pet bird and properly direct him. Please visit this website for valuable tips on parrot behavior and training. If you found a way to resolve a "parrot behavioral issue" please share it with others.
- If you are, as I am, a visual learner and prefer step-by-step instructions to train your pet, I recommend:
If you are considering one of these magnificent parrots as pets, please visit the following websites for information:
- Procuring your Parrot
- The 3 Key Elements to Keep Your Pet Bird Happy & Healthy
- Housing Your Bird
- Bird Nutrition
- Parrot Products
Family: Psittacidae ... Sub-Family: Psittacinae
Genus: Scientific: Psitteuteles ... English: Wedge-tailed Lorikeet ... Dutch: Wigstaartlori ... German: Keilschwanzloris ... French: Loriquet cale
Species: Scientific: Psitteuteles versicolor aka Trichoglossus versicolor ... English: Varied Lorikeet, Red-crowned Lorikeet ... Dutch: Veelkleurenlori, Bonte Lori ... German: Buntlori ... French: Loriquet varié ... CITES II - Endangered Species
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