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how to care for a rainbow lorikeet

How To Look After A Rainbow Lorikeet

Last Updated on: 13th July 2023, 11:22 am

Rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus moluccanus) are medium-sized parrots native to Australia and Indonesia.

Rainbow loris derive their name from their colorful plumage. They have a blue head and belly, orange-red chest, bright green back, tail, and wings, and their beaks and eyes are orange-red.

All rainbow lorikeets are virtually indistinguishable physically. They’re listed as of least concern on the IUCN Red List, meaning they’re not vulnerable or endangered.

Can You Keep A Rainbow Lorikeet As A Pet?

In the U.S., keeping a captive-bred rainbow lorikeet as a pet is legal.

The lorikeet must have been bred within the U.S., not imported. Importing or owning wild-caught exotic birds, including rainbow loris, is illegal in most states.

To ensure you’re buying a captive-bred lorikeet, source one from a reputable breeder. Ask for proof of the bird’s lineage to ensure you aren’t being sold a wild-caught specimen.

You don’t need a permit to keep a rainbow lorikeet as a pet in America, but you may need one if you plan to breed lorikeets. The license you’ll require varies between states.

Before adopting a lori, check specific state legislation. Also, check with your landlord or Homeowner’s Association to ensure pet birds are permitted in case they have a no-pets policy.

How Much Do Rainbow Lorikeets Cost?

Buying a rainbow lorikeet from a breeder costs $400 to $1,000. You’ll also need to pay for a cage, accessories, toys, food, cleaning supplies, and vet care. Here are the main costs:

Rainbow lorikeet$400 – $1,000 per bird
Cage$100 – $500
Lock for the cage door$5 – $20
Travel cage (for transporting the bird home and to the vet)$50 – $100
Perches$10 – $30 per perch
Toys$10 – $20 per toy
Water and food dishes$10 – $20 for a set of 2
Food$15 – $30 per 3lb bag of lorikeet food, plus fresh fruits daily
Cleaning supplies (bird-safe disinfectant, newspaper, cleaning cloths/sponges)$10 – $20 per month
Yearly veterinary checkups$50 – $100

Rotate toys weekly so that the lorikeet doesn’t get bored. Also, you can buy additional enrichment items, like shower perches and stands for outside the cage.

How To Care for A Rainbow Lorikeet

Before bringing home a rainbow lorikeet, learn how to house, feed, and handle it. Also, you find out how to identify health problems and deal with behavioral problems.

Rainbow Lorikeet Cage Requirements

Rainbow loris are very active, medium-sized parrots. To house a lori, you’ll need the following:

  • The cage should have internal dimensions of 36″ H x 48″ L x 24″ W or 36″ H x 60″ L x 36″ W for a pair of loris. The length of the cage is more important than the height.
  • Bar spacing should be 3/4 of an inch to prevent injury and escape.
  • Stainless steel food and water dishes must clip onto the cage bars.
  • At least 3 natural wood perches at different heights.
  • An assortment of toys to entertain the lorikeet, like hanging rings, climbing toys, swings, wooden chew toys, and noisy toys.
  • A shallow bath because lorikeets enjoy bathing.

Line the cage with newspaper or paper towels to make cleaning easier.

Place the cage stand on a hard floor, like wood, linoleum, or tile, rather than carpet. That’s because rainbow lorikeets spray their feces, so some will likely leave the cage.

Spot-clean the cage daily to remove waste and sanitize food and water dishes.

What Does A Rainbow Lorikeet Eat?

Wild loris feed on nectar and pollen from flowers and fruits. Okajimas Folia Anatomica Japonica said lorikeets’ tongues have a grooved, brush-like tip adapted for a liquid diet.

You can buy special food for rainbow lorikeets in powder form, which is mixed with water to produce a thick liquid. It replicates nectar from flowers, containing the nutrients rainbow lorikeet need.

Lorikeets also benefit from eating fruit, such as:

Lorikeets enjoy eating vegetables, like dark leafy greens. Also, supplement their diet with occasional insects, like beetles, worms, and grasshoppers.

Parrots need constant access to fresh, clean, chlorine-free water. Without adequate water, a lorikeet can dehydrate and die within 48-72 hours.

Rainbow Lorikeet Temperament and Behavior

Rainbow lorikeets are friendly and outgoing birds. Captive-bred and tamed loris are particularly friendly and confident around humans.

Trusting you will take time, but once a rainbow lorikeet has bonded with you, you’ll have a friend for life.

Lorikeets are intelligent birds, so you can train them to come when called, navigate obstacles, perform clever tricks, and mimic human speech.

They can be loud, squawking frequently. Lorikeets aren’t ideal pets for apartments or families with young children that take naps during the day.

Lorikeets can be territorial and hostile to other bird species. If you keep lorikeets, they should ideally be the only animals in the home. If not, they should be kept in separate rooms.

A rainbow lorikeet requires time and attention, so spend 2-4 hours a day in their company. These active and energetic birds must spend several hours flying outside their cage.

can you keep a rainbow lorikeet as a pet?

Handling a Rainbow Lorikeet

You can train a lorikeet to perch on your hand, arm, or shoulder.

Before handling or touching a lorikeet, you must tame it. Depending upon the bird’s personality and life experiences, this may take several weeks or months.

To tame a rainbow lorikeet, spend time talking and engaging with it. Allow it to eat treats from your hand to help it associate your presence with positive outcomes, like food rewards and petting sessions.

Eventually, it’ll feel comfortable hopping onto your hand for a treat.

Stroke the lorikeet’s head and beak. However, avoid touching a rainbow lorikeet on its back, on or under its wings, or around the tail area, as this may cause it to become attracted to you.

Rainbow Lorikeet Common Health Problems

Lorikeets can develop illnesses and diseases, including:

  • Nutritional imbalances: Lorikeets require specialized diets of nectar and fruit. For example, if fed the wrong foods, they can become vitamin A deficient (hypovitaminosis A).
  • Iron Storage Disease (ISD): Lories are vulnerable to hemochromatosis, where iron levels in the liver increase, leading to oxidative harm.
  • Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome (LPS): Leads to paralysis and inability to fly in wild lorikeets.
  • Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD): An airborne condition with no cure that leads to dead and abnormal feather formation.
  • Respiratory conditions: Birds are vulnerable to viral, bacterial, and fungal conditions that can lead to severe respiratory problems, like Aspergillosis.
  • Injuries caused by self-mutilation arise due to boredom, confinement, or no mental stimulation.
  • Toxicosis: This is caused by inhaling fumes from cleaning products, candles, non-stick cookware, etc.
  • Illness caused by food spoilage: Food can go bad and grow bacteria.
  • Obesity-related problems: Weight gain can cause atherosclerosis and heart disease.
  • Egg binding and egg yolk peritonitis in female birds.

Common signs of illness include food refusal, lethargy, depression, weight loss, and puffed-up feathers. Schedule annual veterinary checkups for a rainbow lorikeet, even if it appears in good health.

Facts About Rainbow Lorikeets

Here are some frequently asked questions about rainbow lorikeets as pets:

How Big Is A Rainbow Lorikeet?

Rainbow lorikeets are medium-sized parrots, reaching their full size after about 24 months.

An average adult rainbow lorikeet is 10-12 inches long and weighs about 130-140 grams. There’s no sexual dimorphism, so males and females are identical.

What Is The Lifespan of A Rainbow Lorikeet?

Wild rainbow lorikeets live for 7-10 years, but captive birds have a longer lifespan.

Pet lorikeets aren’t in danger from predation, starvation, or extreme temperatures. They also have a lower risk of injury and illness and have access to veterinary care.

According to Louisville Zoo, pet rainbow lorikeets can live for 25-35 years.

How To Tell The Age of A Rainbow Lorikeet

Rainbow lorikeets don’t visually change much once they mature after 24 months. They don’t lose their pigment or turn gray in old age. To estimate a lorikeet’s age, consider the following factors:

  • Beak color: Baby lorikeets have black beaks that turn orange and red as they mature.
  • Eye color: Juvenile loris have dark eyes that turn orange-red as adults.
  • Activity level: They sleep more and become less active as they age.
  • General health: Cataracts, arthritis, and other health problems may occur in older birds.

If you buy a rainbow lorikeet from a breeder, they’ll have recorded it at birth.

What Does Healthy Rainbow Lorikeet Poop Look Like?

New owners are often surprised at the consistency of the bird’s poop.

Most parrot species’ droppings are semi-solid, with a similar texture to toothpaste. However, lorikeets have loose and watery droppings that resemble diarrhea. This is down to the lorikeet’s specialized diet.

Lorikeets obtain most of their nutrition from nectar, which they get from flowers. Pet lorikeets must be fed a specialized “lorikeet nectar,” which contains essential vitamins, sugar, and amino acids.

Pet loris can eat fruit and seeds, but most of their diet is liquid, so their droppings are loose. Lorikeets spray their poop and may do so anywhere in the home.

Rainbow lorikeet poop is easy to clean off hard surfaces. However, avoid waiting too long before cleaning it up, as the waste will attract fruit flies and solidify.

rainbow lorikeet common health problems

Are Rainbow Lorikeets Aggressive?

Rainbow lorikeets are confident, outgoing, energetic birds that won’t shy away from human interaction.

When you bring a lorikeet home, it’ll take time to bond with you. However, it shouldn’t behave aggressively, bite, or attack you if you give it time to adjust to its new life.

If a lorikeet is hostile toward a human, it may be stressed, sick, in pain, or frightened. Lorikeets may also exhibit aggressive behaviors when bored or lacking mental stimulation.

They can be territorial birds and protective of their owners. As the relationship grows, lorikeets may become jealous if they see you paying attention to another person or pet.

What Noise Does a Rainbow Lorikeet Make?

The call of a rainbow lorikeet is loud, shrill, and distinctive. They emit high-pitched chirps, squawks, and squeaks, which some owners call ‘barks.’

Lorikeets squawk and chirp when excited, happy, annoyed, or trying to get your attention. A pair of lorikeets may spend hours communicating with each other.

Most owners adjust to the noises, but some may find lorikeet sounds grating.

Rainbow lorikeets may also emit lengthy, high-pitched ‘screams.’ If a rainbow lorikeet doesn’t stop screaming, it may be bored, annoyed, jealous, or stressed.

Can a Rainbow Lorikeet Talk?

Rainbow lorikeets are good talkers, able to mimic human speech. The more time you spend talking to a lorikeet, the sooner it’ll learn to say new words.

Most rainbow lorikeets respond better to human speech when spoken in a high-pitched voice because it sounds closer to the species’ high-pitched call. According to Comparative Cognition and Behavior Reviews, birds respond to sounds that mimic their song.

When a lorikeet repeats a sound you’ve made, reward it with positive reinforcement.

Rainbow lorikeets are intelligent, vibrant-colored, playful, and attentive pets. While lorikeets make loving companion birds when cared for properly, they produce loud calls and messy waste.