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Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus moluccanus)
Length 30cm
Weight 140 gm
The first ever illustration of any Australian parrot that was published, was in fact a Rainbow lorikeet, back in 1774 in Peter Brown’s New Illustrations of Zoology.

Habitat: The Rainbow Lorikeet is commonly found all down the east coast of Australia, from Tasmania to Northern Queensland, to where they have become somewhat a tourist attraction at Currumbin Sanctuary (where hundreds of Rainbows fly in every morning and afternoon for their free feed). There is an isolated population in and around the city of Perth on the far western side of Australia .It is suspected that this population grew or originated from aviary escapes. In Melbourne it is common to see the birds flying around in small groups during the day and gathering to very large noisy flocks at feeding and roosting sites. Rainbows can be heard before they are seen, as they are very argumentative amongst themselves and other birds in the tree.

Swainson's Lorikeet - Lutino mutation
One must always remember that there is no true visual way of sexing a Rainbow Lorikeet. The only true and reliable way is either surgical sexing or DNA (Blood /Feather).

Over the years there have been more home recipes developed regarding the feeding of Lories and Lorikeets, in both their wet and dry diets. Over the last 10 years there has been a lot of work done by some of the major pet food companies in conjunction with Aviculturists, in the development of Lory and Lorikeet diets.

A wet mix is supplied early in the morning with the amount given depending on whether there are chicks in the nest. The wet mix should all be consumed within 1-2 hours. The reason for this is that the wet mix can sour very quickly in the Australian heat. As with the wet mix a fresh supply of fruit and veggies is feed out every morning, consisting of apple, pear, mango, orange, banana, kiwi fruit, broccoli, celery, peas and beans. Again this is only fed out in the morning as all food bowls are collected before the heat of the day. There is a constant supply of the dry mix always available to the birds. And, at the end off the day, a fresh supply of wet mix is fed, along with a piece of fruit.

Swainson't Lorikeet - dilute blue-fronted mutation
With any bird, a constant supply of fresh drinking water is a must. All Lories and Lorikeets love to bathe and so a water bowl large enough to allow the birds to hop into will be greatly appreciated by the birds. They also love to make their own wet mix in their water bowls with the dry food so a strict cleaning regimen must be in place. As these commercially available diets are becoming better and more freely available, the pet bird owner/Aviculturist must supply a fresh supply of fruit and veggies daily to the birds.

In Australia, the Rainbow Lorikeet is classed as an ideal bird for the beginner lorikeet breeder as these birds are very easy to care for and will breed freely for anyone starting out in Loryculture. The cage/housing needs for Rainbows will always come down to the owner’s personal budget. As long as the cage/aviary is not too small for the bird, successful breeding is almost guaranteed.

Swainson's Lorikeet - cinnamon mutation
Rainbows will do well in both a conventional aviary or suspended. I personally prefer the suspended as the ease of daily feeding and cleaning is a lot less intrusive to the birds. As a guide, I can recommend a suspended aviary be a minimum length of 1.2 meters (4 ft) x .600mm (2 ft) wide x .900mm (3 ft) high. Rainbow Lorikeets will accept a variety of nest boxes or hollow logs hung either vertically or horizontally on the outside of the cage, not only for the keepers ease of nest inspection but to also allow the full use of the cage for the birds. I prefer a nest box that has a removable drawer/nest chamber, as this makes changing the soiled wet nesting material done with ease and very little interference to the parent birds and chicks.

Rainbow Lorikeets will breed from the age of approximately 12 months and will breed freely through out the year. 2 eggs are laid with a 1-2 day interval, with an incubation period of 24 days and with fertility almost 100%. Occasionally 3 eggs are laid but this is very rare. Rainbow Lorikeets hatch with a fine wispy, white down. Their eyes open at 14 days. By the 20th day, the babies are covered in a dull grey down, and are almost fully feathered at 40 days Chicks will fledge at approximately 60 days of age.

Chicks that are left with their parents should be observed regularly not only as the chicks are developing in the nest (as the parents can be know to pluck the chicks) but also when the chicks have fledged, as the parents can become aggressive towards their young in eagerness to go back to nest. The fledglings look a little duller than their parents, with their brown beaks and pale skin around the eye. Over the last 10-15 years, a lot of work focusing on the development of mutations in the Rainbow Lorikeet has developed some very stunning and truly beautiful colour mutations.

Mutations: Grey Green, Cinnamon, Blue Fronted, Mustard, Olive, Lutino and Pied are all well established in Australian aviaries with some new mutations starting to appear.

Swainson's Lorikeet - Blue-front mutation
Summary: The Rainbow lorikeet would have to be one of Australia’s most popular lorikeets. Its amazing plumage, crazy antics and the ability to mimic words and sounds not only make it a fantastic pet but also a great aviary subject. It’s not just for the beginner to Loryculture. Its willingness to breed freely and the knowledge and the experience gained by keeping this wonderful bird will help any Loriculturist get a good strong foothold on the keeping and breeding of Lories and Lorikeets currently available in Aviculture.

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