Rainbow Lorikeets are native to Australia and they are one of the most widespread species around the continent. In fact, Rainbow Lorikeets are regularly at the top of a popular annual Australian survey where residents report the birds they see in their backyards or other locations.
In 2021 the Rainbow Lorikeet was the most reported species in the country.
Rainbow Lorikeets are found all throughout eastern Australia. They stick to the coastal zone because they need extensive areas flowering trees to survive. Rainbow Lorikeets are not found in the arid or desert areas of Australia.
Why are Rainbow Lorikeets so common in Australia?
There are many possible reasons why numbers of Rainbow Lorikeets exceed those of all the other lorikeet species.
A big reason is the way Australian’s have landscaped their gardens and properties since European colonisation of the country.
By planting cultivated plants which produce flowers all year round, Rainbow Lorikeets have a regular and easy to find food source and will rarely have a time where they are struggling to find food.
Rainbow Lorikeets are large and somewhat aggressive honeyeaters, so they can out-compete other small birds who might otherwise feed on these plants.
Rainbow Lorikeets can also make it harder for smaller lorikeet and parrot species to nest in the limited tree nest hollows which are available.
All of this leads to the present day situation of Rainbow Lorikeets being the most common, and potentially the most populous bird on the Australian continent.
Rainbow Lorikeets in Western Australia
Rainbow Lorikeets were not originally considered native to Western Australia, but they are now found throughout the Perth area.
It is not known for certain how Rainbow Lorikeets became established in Perth and Western Australia, with many people believing it was due to escaped or released pet birds.
We know birds don’t recognise borders and can colonise any location they wish to move to – so could Western Australia’s Rainbow Lorikeets have ventured from the east to west on their own? While anything is possible, the vast desert separating the east and west coasts make it unlikely – not because Lorikeets aren’t capable of traveling long distances; but they would be unlikely to find enough suitable food sources to allow them to travel so far.
In any case, even if the lorikeets of WA are there due to human activity, mistreatment and blame should not be placed on the birds who are simply trying to survive in this human dominated world. Sadly, Rainbow Lorikeets (along with other species like Little Corella) have been labeled pest birds in Western Australia through no fault of their own.
Red-collared Lorikeet: A very closely related species is the Red-collared Lorikeet – in fact many people still consider them the same species with slightly different plumage. Although they used to be classed as one species, the Rainbow and Red-collared Lorikeets are now two distinct species.
Red-collared lorikeets are found only across northern Australia and have a noticeable red collar at the back of their neck as their name suggests, compared to the green/yellow collar of the Rainbow Lorikeet.
How easy is it to see Rainbow Lorikeets in Australia?
Rainbow Lorikeets are probably the easiest bird to see along Australia’s east coast. You are likely to see or hear them before you even leave an airport!
Flocks are regularly seen flying from tree to tree, and some of these flocks can number in the hundreds.
It’s also common for other species of lorikeet to join Rainbow Lorikeets in their flocks, including Scaly-breasted Lorikeets and Musk Lorikeets.
These birds fly extremely fast, so you will often only be able to identify each species by their unique calls as they flash by.
Are Rainbow Lorikeets noisy?
Rainbow Lorikeets can gather in very large flocks in the wild, sometimes numbering many hundreds of birds. Sometimes they also mix wtith other lorikeet species. Rainbow Lorikeet flocks constantly chatter and communicate with each other, and can be particularly noisy early in the morning and in the evening when they go to their night roost trees.
How do I attract Rainbow Lorikeets to my garden?
The best way to attract Rainbow Lorikeets and other birds to your garden is by planting nectar producing plants - plants that are native to your area are the best options. This can include Eucalyptus trees, Banksia trees and shrubs, Wattle trees, and countless others.
Where do Lorikeets sleep?
Rainbow Lorikeets and other wild lorikeet species sleep in the treetops. This is called a night roost. Some flocks will use the same roost every night. Flocks of Rainbow Lorikeets will gather at their chosen night trees at dusk, chattering and communicating with each other. Often Rainbow Lorikeets will continue making noise within the flock well after dark time, particularly if their night roost trees are near artificial lighting such as street lights or shopping centers, or on bright full moon nights.
Is bread bad for Rainbow Lorikeets?
Yes, bread is very bad for Rainbow Lorikeets and all other parrots and birds. Bread should never be provided to wild Lorikeets or any other bird species. Bread can cause serious health problems for lorikeets, and even death, as well as malnutrition. Never feed bread to lorikeets or any other birds. Instead, provide natural food in the form of plants. If you have a Rainbow Lorikeet as a pet, ensure it receives a quality Lorikeet-specific nectar diet, fruit and healthy pellets.