Iris Lorikeets aka Wedge-tailed Lorikeets
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The Wedge-tailed Lorikeet aka Iris Lorikeet, Psitteuteles iris, is endemic to Indonesia, with a distribution range that includes the forests and woodlands of Wetar island (Maluku Province) and western part of Timor in Lesser Sundas. It can be found from sea level to altitude of 1,500m. The Iris Lorikeet is generally seen in small flocks.
Due to its limited range, ongoing habitat destruction and trapping for the caged-bird trade, the Iris Lorikeet is evaluated as Near Threatened on IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and listed on Appendix II of CITES.
This green lorikeet is a small lory, averaging 20 cm or 8 inches in length. The male has a red forehead, yellow nape, purple band back from eye between nape and cheek, and yellowish below. The female is very similar with red-marked green forecrown and yellowish green cheeks.
Lories as Pets:
Lories are popular companion birds due to their intelligence, entertaining personality and stunning beauty. They are also quite easily bred, so there are readily available. Their expected lifespan is 28+ years. They reach maturity at 8 months or later. Males and females look alike and breeders depend on DNA or endoscopic sexing to determine sex. 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 capable of aggressive behavior if their territory and possessions are not respected. 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.
Caring for your Lory:
Their diet should consists mainly of commercial or home-made nectar. Liquid nectar will need to be replaced several times daily. In warm weather every 4 hours. Spoiled nectar will cause your lory to become ill and possibly die. Excellent commercial formulas are available on this website.
Lories also love fruits, such as apples, pomegranates, papaya, grapes, cantaloupe, pineapple, figs, kiwi, 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.)
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 Lorikeets ... Dutch: Wigstaartlori ... German: Keilschwanzloris ... French: Loriquet cale
Species: Scientific: Psitteuteles iris iris aka Trichoglossus iris iris ... English: Iris Lorikeet ... Dutch: Irislori ... German: Irislori ... French: Loriquet iris
Sub-Species: iris, rubripileum, wetterensis
Family: Psittacidae ... Sub-Family: Psittacinae
Genus: Scientific: Psitteuteles ... English: Wedge-tailed Lorikeets ... Dutch: Wigstaartlori ... German: Keilschwanzloris ... French: Loriquet cale ... Species: Scientific: Psitteuteles iris rubripileum aka Trichoglossus iris rubripileum ... English: Ruby-capped Lorikeet ... Dutch: Robijnkop Irislori ... German: Rubinkappen Irislori ... French: Loriquet à tête rouge ... CITES II - Endangered Species
Distribution: Eastern Timor
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