National Aquarium – Rainbow Lorikeet

Rainbow Lorikeet

Trichoglossus haematodus


Sometimes these birds drink nectar until they are so drunk they can't fly!

Exhibit Name and Location:
Baltimore - Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes

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National Aquarium – Rainbow Lorikeet National Aquarium – Rainbow Lorikeet National Aquarium – Rainbow Lorikeet

Rainbow Lorikeet

With blue on the head and belly, orange or red on the breast, green under the tail, back, and wings, and a red bill, rainbow lorikeets might seem like an easy bird to spot. But in their native habitat, lorikeets' vibrant colors provide the perfect camouflage.

Lorikeets are stocky with pointed tails and, unlike many species of birds, males and females look alike.

Lorikeets are very noisy birds, screeching incessantly while flying and feeding. At night, they roost in flocks of thousands, and during the day, they travel in smaller flocks of perhaps 20 birds.

The bird’s “brush-tipped” tongue and long slender bill are adapted for gathering pollen and nectar from flowers.

Females lay two eggs that hatch in 25 or 26 days. Both parents feed the young.

Another common name for this bird is blue mountain parrot.


Lorikeets feed on pollen and nectar from flowering plants, which is harvested with a large, rounded tongue equipped with brushlike hairs.

They crush fruits and berries to get the juice and have been observed getting intoxicated and rolling about drunkenly on the ground after feeding on fermented fruit nectar.

They also feed on fruit, insects, and larvae.

Because they live and forage in large flocks, fruit farmers consider them a pest.


They grow to about 12 inches in length, and females tend to be a bit smaller than males.


Lorikeets are widely distributed along Australia's coastal strip from Cape York to Victoria and into southern Australia. They are abundant from Sydney northward, becoming less common south of Sydney.

Their preferred habitat is coastal forests and urban clearings.

Population Status

Lorikeets are common in their range.


Hawks and snakes prey on lorikeets.

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A Note From the Caretaker

The Aquarium’s six lorikeets always travel as a flock and have been known to harass other birds in the exhibit by ganging up on them!