Basic Information Sheet: Lory and Lorikeet

Lory and Lorikeet – Loriinae

Basic Information Sheet for the Lory and Lorikeet

Natural history

Lories and lorikeets live in large flocks in the wild.  Depending on the species, lorie sand lorikeets originate from the southeast Asia archipelago or parts of Australia.  These birds will fly from island to island in search of food. Lories and lorikeets will eat coconuts andgrapes and they are considered a pest to farmers.  The nomadic rainbow lorikeet follows eucalyptus flowers blooming along the Australian coast.

Conservation status

The International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN lists the conservation status of most lories and lorikeets as “least concern”, although some species are considered vulnerable or “near threatened”. The red-and-blue lory (Eos histrio), Rimitara lorikeet (Vini kuhlii), and ultramarine lorikeet (Vini ultramarina) are endangered.


Class: Aves

Order: Psittaciformes

Family: Psittacidae

Subfamily: Loriinae

There are 12 genera of lories and lorikeets with 56 species and numerous subspecies.

The most common pet species is the red or Moluccan lory (Eos bornea).

Rainbow or green-naped lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus haematodus) are shown above.

Physical description

  • Lorikeets have a longer, more slender tail and are smaller compared to the short, blunt tail of the larger lories.
  • Plumage color varies with the species and ranges from red, blue, yellow, green, violet, and olive brown.
  • The popular rainbow lory has a yellow collar with blue crown, cheeks and forehead as well as a red chest barred with black and thighs yellow barred with green.
  • Most pet lory and lorikeet species are sexually monomorphic, however sexual dimorphism is recognized in some species. For example, the female fairy lorikeet (Charmosyna pulchella) has yellow patches on the sides of her rump, while the underside of the tail can be bright yellow in the male.


  • Lories and lorikeets are nectarivores that feed on pollen, nectar, flowers, soft fruits, and insects.This diet creates watery droppings making lories and lorikeets better suited for aviary life.
  • Companion lories and lorikeets must be provided with sufficient water. Change food often to prevent spoilage.
  • Grit is not necessary but lories and lorikeets will eat grit when it is provided. In fact, some individuals will overeat grit when ill putting them at risk for impaction.

Dr. Nicole Howard of the Calgary Humane Society writes: My particular dusky lorikeet lived to 20 years of age…on a pelleted diet mixed with water…She was supplemented with organic baby food mixed in with her pelleted diet. I did NOT use corn syrup or any sweeteners.  [I also recommend this diet] to new lorikeet owners (email communication Jan 4, 2017).


  • Provide daily baths or showers.
  • Perch diameter should range from 3/8 to ¾ in (0.95-1.9 cm) depending on the size of the bird. Sand paper perch covers are very abrasive to the feet and are not recommended.
  • Great at escaping their cage. Make sure cage doors are locked.


  • Lories and lorikeets are intelligent and quite playful. They can learn words and tricks quite easily.
  • They can be better suited as lively aviary birds, however they are territorial and do not get along with other bird species.
  • Rainbow lories may sleep on their backs.
  • Foraging is an important part of normal daily parrot activity. Teach and encourage pet birds to play and forage.

Normal physiologic values

Temperature (average)* 41.7°C 107°F
Resting heart rate (beats/min) Variable 200 g bird ~ 178
500 g bird ~ 147
Resting respiration (breaths/min) Variable 30-70
Body weight (g) 20-280 g Species dependent
Rainbow lorikeet 130
Red lory 170
Mean life span (years) 15-20 Lorikeets
20-30 Lories
Weaning age (days) 62-70 Parent-raised
Fledgling age (days) 42-50
Puberty (years) 2
Mean number of incubation days 21-25
Average number of eggs laid 1-5, usually 2 Higher numbers with smaller species
Target environmental temperature Mimic natural environment. Household temperatures of 70-80°F (21-27°C) are generally acceptable, however healthy birds can tolerate hot and cold temperatures.
* Routine avian exam does not include measuring bodytemperature

Anatomy and physiology

  • Brush-like, papillae-tipped tongues allow lories and lorikeets to eat nectar and pollen.
  • These nectarivores possess a weakly muscled crop, proventriculus, and ventriculus or gizzard.
  • Anatomic traits of order Psittaciformes include:
    • Communication of the right and left nasal sinus
    • Simply syrinx
    • Craniofacial hinge of beak is a synovial joint
    • Ceca absent
    • Gall bladder often absent
    • Zygodactyl foot:two toes pointed backward and two pointed forward


Restrain lories and lorikeets by holding the head between the index and middle fingers. Support the body with the palm of the hand as well as the thumb and little finger.


Use a 25-gauge needle and 1 to 3-mL syringe to draw blood from the right jugular vein.Collection of up to 1% of body weight is acceptable in healthy patients.

Preventive medicine


Intramuscular (IM) Reasonably safe, most accurate.
Inject middle of muscle mass.
Ideal location –Pectoral muscle mass
Subcutaneous (SQ) Large volumes can be injected, poor absorption. Location: Inguinal or precrural fold
Intravenous Effective, narrow safety range. Right jugular vein or brachial vein is most commonly used.
Alternative option: superficial metatarsal vein.

Important medical conditions

Non-Infectious conditions

Infectious Diseases




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To cite this page:

Pollock C. Basic information sheet: Lory and lorikeet. Aug 3, 2013. LafeberVet Web site. Available at