Thursday, 15 September 2011

Colour me a rainbow.

One of our most colourful birds with a most appropriate name the Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus is often seen as they fly overhead dashing from one blossoming tree to another usually screeching as they go. We do not see them very fequently in the lower foliage but occasionally they will make a brief stop in one of the nectar bearing shrubs such as the Banksia Integrifolia that a pair flew into this morning giving me enough time for three photos before they screeched off.
Rainbow Lorikeets have two forms the one in our area ranges from the tip of Queensland down the east coast of NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and around to South Australia with a northern form, which has a red collar instead of green, in the far north of WA and the Northern Territory.They are one of six species of lorikeet found in Australia , all being arboreal parrots, very swift flying and have a specialised brush-like tongue to gather the nectar and pollen and a sharp hooked beak for cracking seeds.
Rainbow Lorikeets became very popular with humans when it was found they could be encouraged to feed from your hand with offerings of sunflower seed or bread soaked in a honey nectar. A bird sanctuary in Queensland became a favourite tourist destination  to have your photo taken with the lorikeets being fed from your hand. The feeding of lorikeets has become somewhat of a problem as the population of birds around suburban areas has grown dramatically. Flocks of many hundreds cause damage to trees that they roost in and their aggressive behaviour to other birds has changed the bird distribution pattern in many areas. The feeding of an unbalanced food source has resulted poor nutrition in some of the birds causing problems such as "runners" (birds that cannot fly very well).

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