Like other animals, birds have specific nutritional needs, and Rainbow Lories are no exception. They need the right proportions of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, water, and fats. What does rainbow lorikeet eat? We’re here today to find out!
The main things that a rainbow lorikeet eats are flower nectar and pollen. The other flowers that the lorikeets commonly use include Banksia, Grevilleas, Callistemon, and Eucalyptus. In addition to flowers, different foods, such as berries, insects, and soft fruits, also play a role in the lorikeet’s diet in the wild.
In this article, we’re going to distinguish the Rainbow Lorikeet’s exclusive diet and care so you know exactly what you need to know to raise a healthy and happy parrot. After all, who doesn’t want a happy bird?
Lorikeets Diet In The Wild
What does rainbow lorikeet eat in the wild? They consume nectar and pollen and are supplemented by berries, fruits, and insects. They also consume the flower heads and larvae of Casuarina beetles and small grasshoppers.
In addition to flowers like Banksia, Hibiscus, Bottlebrush, and Eucalyptus, the lorikeet also gets food from insects and other invertebrates it catches. Although Lories are not flying around hunting, they will take bugs that stray within their eyesight.
Pollen And Nectar
According to a study, about 87% of the rainbow lorikeet’s diet is composed of plant pollen and nectar. In Australia, the blooms of eucalyptus provide the rainbow lorikeets with a tremendous amount of pollen each year.
Similarly, in Melanesia, coconut blossoms are the birds’ primary source of pollen and nectar.
Both eucalyptus and coconut blossoms are easily accessible in the wild for these birds, and you can use both to make honey, interestingly enough (no wonder the birds like it).
Other Foods Lorikeets Eat
What does rainbow lorikeet eat if you have it as a pet? You can buy many pollen and nectar alternatives in stores to feed rainbow lorikeets. These prepared diets can be hard to keep up with because they have a lot of sugar, making them rancid quickly, so refrigeration will be necessary for storing many nectar and nectar powder solutions.
You can feed your lorikeets once or twice a day, preferably with only fresh ingredients. These birds are prone to bacterial and yeast infections if they eat contaminated food, so ensuring quality is essential.
It would be best if you also give your bird a wide range of fruits and substitutes for nectar. You can do this in many ways, such as by adding vegetables and fruit to a dish separate from the one used for nectar.
When I kept rainbow lories, I would have four dishes for them:
- Nectar Powder – Commercially prepared for Rainbow Lories. It emulates the mix of sugar and protein you’d find in the wild pollen and nectar in the bird’s diet.
- Dried Foods – I fed my lories various bugs like small mealworms (in moderation), crickets, and sometimes bug-based pellets when available.
- Wet Foods – Fresh fruit like grapes, pears, and pomegranates are excellent.
What does rainbow lorikeet eat? You can provide your bird with various fruits, such as apples, pears, grapes, plums, and figs. You can also nourish them with multiple types of melons.
You might notice that they prefer overripe fruit over under-ripe ones. They should be cut into small pieces, although lories will use their bill to dig away fruit flesh.
Also, never give avocado to a bird due to the possibility of toxicity.
Did you know that It’s essential to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before giving them to lorikeets? Like people, various viruses, bacteria, and chemicals like pesticides can bother lorikeets. Therefore, you must ensure that you care for them with as much, if not more, care than you provide yourself with the right foods.
Rainbow Lorikeet Feeding
A lorikeet’s digestive system is relatively simple. Its primary sources of protein and lipids are insects and pollen, while its carbohydrates come from nectar. Since they spend a lot of time looking for food, it’s safe to assume that carbs are vital to survival. Their diet is also heavily focused on energy from sugary sources like pollen.
A lorikeet can get food from a good-quality commercial lorikeet mix that includes fruit, native plants, and bottlebrush. Examples of fruits include apples, pears, grapes, and watermelons. In addition, avoid citrus fruits.
Here are some valuable tips for feeding your rainbow lorikeet:
Access To Clean Water
Having access to clean water is essential for a lorikeet. To keep food and water clean, wash the dishes regularly in hot water and then thoroughly rinse them.
Lorikeets like to make a mess. They spray their feces everywhere and flick food out of their cages. Be prepared to clean food and water dishes daily, if not twice daily.
In the wild, lorikeets will spend a lot of time searching for delicious nectars and pollens to consume. However, they won’t stray from eating a bug they find along the way; bugs are good resources for a hungry parrot.
Depending on pet store availability, I used to give my Lori’s baby mealworms, hand-fed cricket juveniles, and sometimes the occasional caterpillar.
I recommend using baby mealworms as a sort of treat. You don’t want to feed the adult worms because they can bite (or so I’m told). I’ve never had a normal meal worm bite, but I have seen the more giant jumbo worms bite their way through a reptile’s stomach. So, I like to crush the meal worms’ heads in tweezers while hand-feeding the fatty treat to my birds. Remember, this is a once-in-a-while snack to supplement, not a substitute for the bulk of their diet that should consist of produced nectar and pollen replacement formulas.
Some Foods To Avoid
What does a rainbow lorikeet eat? There are various foods you can give them, as mentioned, and there are a bunch you need to avoid. Avocados are a known source of toxins for birds, so stay away from these.
Also, although lorikeets are known to eat various types of seeds, their gizzards are not powerful enough to break them down. It means that their diets do not contain seeds. They will only be able to grow properly if they are given a proper diet, so listen to your vet and the advice of the breeder who sold you the bird.
Give it time to become used to the food by letting it eat for a couple of hours, and then try giving it something else in its place after that. If fed numerous times daily, your bird will behave like a forager, just as it would in its natural environment.
Every morning and afternoon, give new food items a shot in the kitchen by preparing them for breakfast and dinner. Additionally, try to serve some freshly prepared meals at the end of the day. Remember, it’s not healthy to feed them too close to bedtime, so when I say the end of the day, I mean four in the afternoon.
Be Mindful Of Bad Foods and Spoilage
Now that you know what rainbow lorikeets eat, you should also mind their safety. The food you provide your lorikeet is essential to their survival and should be replaced daily.
However, it’s also possible that the fruits, vegetables, and nectar they eat could quickly become contaminated with harmful microorganisms. After about three or four hours, you should throw away any food that hasn’t been consumed.
Lastly, you should look at your bird’s food consumption to see if it still needs to be uneaten after a meal. Reduce the amount of food you give your bird if you find that a lot of it remains uneaten after a meal. If your rainbow lorikeet is getting too big, you should talk to your vet about reducing food intake.
Lorikeets And Diet-Related Diseases
Lorikeets’ lack of nutrition and cleanliness can lead to disease, which rarely affects these animals in their natural habitats. Scientists have found that these birds die because they don’t get the right food and because their food containers and artificial diets aren’t clean.
In their country of origin, many gardeners try to attract lorikeets by giving them sweets like honey, sugar, and jam. Unfortunately, this can cause them to die sooner or get diseases like necrotizing enteritis. It is a disease that happens when a bacterium called Clostridium infects a lorikeet. Some of the symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and tiredness.
There is a new infectious ailment that is spreading across the lorikeet populations. Psittacine circovirus disease is the name given to this particular illness that harms several birds, including cockatoos, lorikeets, and parrots.
The virus can spread to other ecosystem regions when infected birds defecate. Sadly, feeding stations are susceptible to the contagious nature of the illness. Birds afflicted with the virus may flock together in areas where there are contaminated food dishes and perches.
Due to these facts, you should beware of purchasing livestock from breeders in Australia with open-air aviaries. Similarly, anything deemed ‘wild-caught’ is a big no-no. Don’t try to save money with a wild-caught bird; you will likely regret it.
When researching lorikeet diets, I found something exciting about parrots getting buzz.
Many Australian parrot species are experiencing a bizarre situation in the tropics. A veterinarian says that the animals are stumbling around and showing signs of being drunk like people. Lisa Hansen of the Ark Animal Hospital said these birds are uncoordinated and act like drunken individuals.
During the wet season in Darwin, which lasts from November to May, Australians are used to seeing the country’s parrot species act in strange ways. In 2004, Roff Smith wrote about the birds’ unusual behavior in an article about the region’s monsoons.
They only saw a bunch of noisy rainbow lorikeets high on the fermenting fruit they found under a big mango tree at Vanrook Station. They talked and chased their reflections in windows, and it’s thought that mango madness doesn’t just affect people.
Hansen says the birds have different problems, like getting lost and headaches. The birds have also reportedly exhibited general lethargy after being treated.
Like humans, the birds’ behavior is not funny. Although some can recover in a couple of months, others die from the illness. Over 200 birds have been treated this year, and the cause of their disease is still unknown. One theory suggests that the birds may have consumed fermented nectar from a plant.
The takeaway here is that just because birds are getting wasted in the wild off fermenting plants is no reason to leave fruit in their cage to rot. You can make them very sick, so ensure you stay on top of cleaning – your Lori will remain on top of making a mess.
The rainbow lorikeet’s digestion is simple, as pollen and insects provide their fats and protein, while nectar and carbohydrates are what they need for energy.
Feed your lorikeet a couple of times a day with nothing but a properly prepared diet and fresh fruit. Follow the advice of the veterinarian you have on call for your pet, and follow what the breeder recommends. Keep cleaning up after the messy feathered friend and providing fresh water at all times, and your Lori will grow up strong and beautiful.
You may also be interested in
- ”What Do Rainbow Lorikeets Eat? (Complete Guide).” Birdfact. February 14, 2022. https://birdfact.com/articles/what-do-rainbow-lorikeets-eat#:~:text=Rainbow%20lorikeets%20primarily%20eat%20the,and%20some%20insects%20and%20invertebrates.
- “Strange Planet: Drunken Australian Parrots.” National Geographic. June 3, 2010.https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/strange_planet_drunken_austral
- Fleming, P.A. “Nectar concentration affects sugar preferences in two Australian honeyeaters and a lorikeet.” British Ecological Society Journals. July 11, 2008. https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2435.2008.01401.x
- Hess, Laurie. “Feeding Lories and Lorikeets.” VCA Animal Hospitals. Accessed December 11, 2022. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/lories-and-lorikeets-feeding
- “Keep Teflon, Avocado, Lead, and Zinc Away From Pet Birds.” Vetmed. Accessed December 11, 2022. https://vetmed.illinois.edu/pet-health-columns/bird-toxins-teflon-avocado-lead-zinc/
- “The Danger of Feeding Lorikeet.” NSW Government. Accessed December 11, 2022. https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/native-animals/native-animal-facts/parrots/the-danger-of-feeding-lorikeets
- “Feeding Wild Birds.” Beauty of Birds. September 16, 2021, https://beautyofbirds.com/feeding-wild-birds/
- “Rainbow Lory.” Lafeber. Accessed December 12, 2022. https://lafeber.com/pet-birds/species/rainbow-lory/