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Lories and Lorikeets

There are a number of species of lories and lorikeets. The following is a list of the species more commonly seen in homes or aviaries. Red Lory, Chattering lory, Black lory, Brown lory, Dusky lory, Yellow-streaked lory, Cardinal lory, Blue-streaked lory, Black-capped lory, Rainbow lorikeet, Scaly-breasted lorikeet, Goldie’s lorikeet.

Endearing Characteristics:
Lories and lorikeets are often referred to as the clowns of the parrot world. They tend to be very active, fast moving, and inquisitive. They can be seen rolling around on their backs, clutching toys in their toes, hopping, and tussling with avian companions. Their movements can be jerky, which sometimes startles people as they are getting to know a bird.

Lories and lorikeets are relatively small parrots and often quite stunning. Their colors can be quite vibrant or quite unusual for a parrot, such as black or brown.

Lorikeets in particular are often featured in interactive aviaries at zoos. Guests are given cups of nectar to share with the birds. Birds that have been socialized with people will often fly to strangers for an opportunity to feed. At Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Australia wild lorikeets have learned to fly to pans of nectar held by tourists. This unique experience allows guests to interact with native Australian wildlife. The flocks include hundreds if not thousands of birds.

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Wild lorikeets feed from guests at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Australia

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An interactive lorikeet aviary at the Denver Zoo

Interesting Facts and Quirks:
Lories and lorikeets have evolved to feed on nectar, pollen from flowers and soft fruits. In the home, caregivers can expect to provide a similar diet. Nectar products are available specifically for lories and lorikeets. Fresh fruits are also important to their diet in the home. Fresh flowers such as hibiscus can also be provided.

Because of this specialized diet, lories and lorikeets have a very unique tongue. The tongue has papillae on the end that cause it to look bit like a brush. This helps them acquire food. When interacting with a lory or lorikeet they will often use their tongue to explore your hands. If there is nectar on your fingertips they will be likely to lick it off.

The name lory is often used to refer to members of the sub family Loriinae that have shorter rounded tails. Parrots in this family that have long pointy tails are often called lorikeets.

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