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how to care for a rainbow lorikeet

How To Look After A Rainbow Lorikeet

Last Updated on February 20, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Buy a captive-bred lorikeet from a breeder to avoid getting a wild-caught parrot. Also, check with your landlord or homeowner’s association to ensure there isn’t a “no-pets policy.”

In the United States, keeping a captive-bred rainbow lorikeet as a pet is legal. They’re listed as of least concern on the IUCN Red List, meaning they’re not vulnerable or endangered.

Rainbow Lorikeet Care Guide

Before bringing home a rainbow lorikeet, learn how to house, feed, and handle it. Also, find out how to identify health problems and take steps to prevent behavioral issues from developing.

Cage Requirements

To house a Lori, the cage has the following requirements:

  • 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 to clip onto the cage bars.
  • At least 3 natural wood perches at different heights and angles.
  • An assortment of toys, such as hanging rings, climbing toys, swings, wooden chew toys, and noisy toys, are available to entertain the lorikeet.
  • 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. Rainbow lorikeets spray their feces, so some will likely leave the cage.

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

Food And Diet

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 food for rainbow lorikeets in powder form to mix with water to produce a thick liquid. It replicates nectar from flowers and contains the nutrients they need.

Lorikeets also benefit from eating fruit, such as:

Lorikeets enjoy eating vegetables, like dark leafy greens. You can 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 will likely dehydrate and die in 48 to 72 hours.

Temperament And Behavior

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.

Lorikeets can be loud and squawk frequently, making them unsuitable pets for apartment living.

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 several hours 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?


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

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.

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

Stroke the lorikeet’s head and beak. 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.

Health Problems

Lorikeets can develop illnesses and diseases, including:

  • Nutritional imbalances: Lorikeets require specialized diets of nectar and fruit. If fed the wrong foods, they can become vitamin A deficient.
  • Iron Storage Disease (ISD): Lories are vulnerable to hemochromatosis, a condition in which iron levels in the liver increase, leading to oxidative harm.
  • Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome (LPS): This leads to paralysis and the inability to fly in wild lorikeets.
  • Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD): This airborne condition leads to dead and abnormal feather formation. It’s an incurable disease.
  • 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 turn rancid and accumulate bacterial microbes.
  • Obesity-related problems: Weight gain can cause atherosclerosis and heart disease.
  • Egg binding and egg yolk peritonitis in females.

Schedule annual veterinary checkups even if your rainbow lorikeet appears in good health.

Size And Weight

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.


Wild rainbow lorikeets live for 7-10 years, but captive birds have a longer lifespan. According to Louisville Zoo, pet rainbow lorikeets can live for 25-35 years.


Lorikeets have loose and watery droppings that resemble diarrhea due to their specialized diet. They spray their poop and may do so anywhere in the home.

Pet Loris can eat fruit and seeds, but most of their diet is liquid, so their droppings are loose.

Lorikeets obtain most of their nutrition from nectar, which they get from flowers. Pet lorikeets must be fed a specialized “lorikeet nectar,” which contains the essential nutrients they need to thrive.

rainbow lorikeet common health problems


When you bring a lorikeet home, it’ll take time to bond with you.

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

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


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.

If a rainbow lorikeet doesn’t stop screaming, it may be bored, annoyed, jealous, or stressed.

Talking Ability

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. Start speech training early in life.

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.

Cost of Ownership

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 some of the toys weekly so the lorikeet doesn’t get bored.

They’re intelligent, vibrant-colored, playful, and attentive pet birds. When you look after rainbow lorikeets correctly, they make loving companions. However, Lorikeets have loud calls and messy waste.