25 January 2014

Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus)


Hello, a happy New Year to you all. 
I have recently returned from holiday.  Whilst on holiday, I was able to take part in some amateur ornithological activities such as identifying, observing and counting birds.  The birds in the above photographs are Rainbow Lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus) They are the most beautiful, highly colourful parrots.  It was interesting to observe that these birds tended to fly and feed in pairs presumably a male and a female together.   

The Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) is a species of Australasian parrot found in Australia, eastern Indonesia (Maluku and Western New Guinea), Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. In Australia, it is common along the eastern seaboard, from Queensland to South Australia and northwest Tasmania. Its habitat is rainforest, coastal bush and woodland areas.  Rainbow Lorikeets are true parrots, within the Psittacoidea superfamily in the order Psittaciformes.

The Rainbow Lorikeet is a medium-sized parrot, with the length ranging from 25–30 cm (9.8-11.8 in) in size, and has a wingspan of about 17 cm (6.7 in). The weight varies from 75–157 g (2.6–5.5 oz). The plumage of the nominate race, as with all subspecies, is very bright. The head is deep blue with a greenish-yellow nuchal collar, and the rest of the upperparts (wings, back and tail) are deep green. The chest is red with blue-black barring. The belly is deep green, and the thighs and rump are yellow with deep green barring. In flight a yellow wing-bar contrasts clearly with the red underwing coverts.
There is little to visually distinguish between the sexes, however to a keen observer of their colouring and behaviour, their dimorphism is readily apparent.
Juveniles have a black beak, which gradually brightens to orange in the adults.
The markings of the best known subspecies T. h. moluccanus resemble those of the nominate race, but with a blue belly and a more orange breast with little or no blue-black barring.  Other subspecies largely resemble either the nominate race or T. h. moluccanus, or are intermediate between them. Two exceptions are T. h. flavicans and T. h. rosenbergii. In the rather variable T. h. flavicans the green of some individuals is dull, almost olivaceous, but in others the green hue approaches that typical of the Rainbow Lorikeet. T. h. rosenbergii is highly distinctive and several features separates it from all other subspecies: Its wing-bars are deep orange (not contrasting clearly with the red underwing coverts in flight), the entire nape is yellow bordered by a narrow red band and the dark blue barring to the red chest is very broad.
Overall, the Rainbow Lorikeet remains widespread and often common. It is therefore considered to be of Least Concern by BirdLife International. The status for some localised subspecies is more precarious, with especially T. h. rosenbergii (which possibly is worthy of treatment as a separate species) being threatened by habitat loss and capture for the parrot trade.

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