Blog Archives

Rainbow Lorikeets and a flowering grass tree

A grass tree (Xanthorrhoea) perches precariously on the edge of a cliff in our garden. Every couple of years, the grass tree throws up a flower spike—much to the delight of the Rainbow Lorikeets in the area. Here’s a closeup of a couple of the birds on the flower spike:

Here’s the grass tree on the cliff, with the flower spike shooting up. The grass tree is the one with long, thin, spiky leaves at the base of the flowering spike, not the fleshy big-leafed succulents that surround it:

You can only fit so many lorikeets on a flower spike at once. So, the trick is to line up on the nearest power line and take turns. This video shows the interaction between the birds as they wait in line:

Evidently the nectar from the flowers on the spike is deliciously sweet. Australian Aboriginal people use it to make a sweet drink. Europeans used to burn it as incense in churches. The birds feel it’s worth waiting in line:

It turns out you can fit quite a few lorikeets on a flower spike:

Common name: Rainbow Lorikeet

Scientific name: Trichoglossus haematodus

Approximate length: 30 cm

Date spotted: 7 July 2017 (Winter)

Location: Allambie Heights, New South Wales, Australia

Musk Lorikeets feeding and chatting

A tree outside our house is in flower, and attracting many avian visitors. This is the first time I’ve seen a Musk Lorikeet. They’re pretty little birds, very fast moving and well camouflaged amongst the green leaves. They chatter to each other constantly, often making a pleasant trilling sound. For some reason, that sound makes me of a phone ringing in a sunlit roof-top apartment.

You can also hear water running down the hill, as it’s been raining a lot recently.

Common name: Musk Lorikeet

Scientific name: Glossopsitta concinna

Approximate length: 23 cm

Date spotted: 27-28 February 2017 (Summer)

Location: Allambie Heights, New South Wales, Australia

In this second video, an Australian Miner joins the lorikeet in the floral feast. The miners and lorikeets usually have a bit of a squawking match over feeding territory, but they managed to co-exist on the same branch for a short period.

The loud chirping you can hear is a Rainbow Lorikeet flying by. (There’s a picture of one further down in this post.)

Musk Lorikeets are mainly green, with a red mask around the eyes, a blue cap, and a yellow stripe along the wing:

Musk Lorikeet

They never seem to stop moving! This one stood still for a short time, but you can see it’s thinking of launching itself into the air any time:

Musk Lorikeet

Other visitors to the tree include Rainbow Lorikeets like this one:

rainbow lorikeet

They’re much more common around here than the Musk Lorikeets. Also Currawongs:

currawong

Why we plant native bushes and trees

One of the reasons we plant native bushes and trees in our garden is to provide food and shelter for the birds and animals. So that they’ll drop in and share this tiny patch of Australia with us. We see possums, lizards, bats, and birds of many kinds. Last week a wallaby passed through on its way from somewhere to somewhere else – but that’s most unusual, as ours really is a very small patch.

Rainbow lorikeets are frequent visitors, snacking on the nectar from the flowers. They’re noisy and quarrelsome, and very pretty.

The bush is a grevillia that we planted a couple of years ago, specifically to attract birds. It works!

Rainbow Lorikeet

Common name: Rainbow Lorikeet

Scientific name: Trichoglossus haematodus

Approximate length: 30 cm

Date spotted: 3 September 2016

Season: Spring

Bird swathed in Christmas colours

This little Rainbow Lorikeet shows off its bright cloak of red, green, blue and yellow, perched on the greeny-white flower of an Old Man Banksia. Christmas colours indeed

Bird swathed in Christmas colours

Common name: Rainbow Lorikeet

Scientific name: Trichoglossus haematodus

Approximate length: 30 cm

Date spotted: 24 December 2015

Season: Summer

Location: Allambie Heights, New South Wales, Australia

Approximate latitude/longitude: 33°46’19.2″S 151°15’39.6″E

Rainbow Lorikeets courting

These two Rainbow Lorikeets looked pretty interested in each other. They started with grooming and crooning, then they did a bit of a courtship dance. But it didn’t seem very serious, and they seemed to part as just good friends.

Common name: Rainbow Lorikeet

Scientific name: Trichoglossus haematodus

Approximate length: 30 cm

Date spotted: 19 October 2014

Season: Spring

Location: Manly Dam National Park, New South Wales, Australia

Latitude/longitude: 33°46’51.2″S 151°15’00.4″E

Rainbow Lorikeets sheltering from the rain

Three Rainbow Lorikeets primp and preen while taking shelter from a rainstorm.

Common name: Rainbow Lorikeet

Scientific name: Trichoglossus haematodus

Approximate length: 30 cm

Date spotted: 20 January 2012

Season: Summer

Location: Allambie Heights, New South Wales, Australia

Approximate latitude/longitude: -33.772218,151.26089