Gift Of Flight

Lories and Lorikeets – Introduction to Birdkeeping

This is not just any parrot and so it started…

Here in this article, I will be sharing my experience with Lories and Lorikeets

I first came across this species in the year 2018, yes, I definitely have heard about them but never seen one with my own eyes; It was in a very popular exhibitor’s place and during those days the species did not really have that buzz at least not in India. Only they were seen with experienced keepers and breeders with whom it was useless for any small hobbyist to compare.

The first species that I had seen was the majestic Red Collared Lorikeet and since then it took almost 4 years for me to get my first which was a Green Naped Lorikeet. Now many people will question why is it “not just any parrot”? So, let’s embark on the journey to justify this statement.

The primary difference that sets apart Lories from the rest of the world is their absolutely different evolution for their TONGUE which in terms changes the entire biology.

Understanding the Tongue of  Lories and Lorikeets


tongue of lories and lorikeets
Figure 1 Tongue of a Lorikeet illustrated in 1872


Lorikeets boast unique, bristle-like tongues that serve a dual purpose – self-cleaning and extracting nectar and pollen. Unlike their parrot counterparts, lorikeets steer clear of seeds, deeming them harmful. Instead, they employ their specialized tongues to delve into local flowers, particularly favouring the aromatic embrace of Eucalyptus.

In the pursuit of nectar and pollen, lorikeet and Lory species have developed lengthy, supple tongues with a distinctive ‘brush’ at the tip, called the Papillae. This brush aids them in extracting the utmost flavour from their beloved blooms. Some lorikeet owners amusingly recount instances where their noses and ears have been mistaken for enticing flowers, requiring a level of preparedness for impromptu avian explorations.

A microscopic examination of rainbow lorikeets’ tongues reveals a fascinating anatomy reminiscent of a finger. The tongue’s dorsal surface showcases distinct parts – the apex, body, and root. Multiple processes extend from the apex’s lateral side towards the medial side, characterized by rod-like structures and smooth surfaces.

The lingual body features grooves on both sides, while the lingual gland exhibits a prominent aperture in the middle of the root, flanked by sizable holes. Lorikeets sport a tongue formation that stands out in the avian world, exemplifying a marvel of natural adaptation. Understanding the intricacies of lorikeet tongue anatomy demands time and dedication.

Their unconventional diet sets lorikeets apart in the parrot realm, prompting a fascinating evolution in their tongue structure. This evolution results in long, flexible tongues with a brush-like feature at the tip, facilitating optimal access to the choicest parts of their favourite flowers. Lorikeet tongues, in their unique design, emerge as a testament to the remarkable adaptations found in the diverse tapestry of bird life. So, I hope the main clarification is given as to why it isn’t any parrot.


Nature of the Lorini Family


Nature Lories and Lorikeets
Rainbow Lorikeet and Green Naped Lorikeet

Lories and lorikeets are colourful and lively birds found in places like Australia, Indonesia, New Guinea, Pacific Islands, the Philippines, and the Solomon Islands. Interestingly, you can’t easily tell if a Lory or lorikeet is a male or a female just by looking at them. Unlike some other birds, they don’t have visual differences between males and females. But, if you’re curious about the sex of your feathery friend, a DNA test is done find out if it’s male or a female. They have a varied lifespan ranging from 15 to 35 years in captivity.

Lories have an extrovert nature; they do not shy away in most cases from human. They are always moving, jumping, flying, dancing or doing something whatever that draws their attention. They are probably the most curious avian species in the genus. The reason of them being hyperactive again links back to their diet which contains a lot of sugar or in short of energy.

So, for Lories to utilise that energy out of their system they remain super active when compared to any kind of avian species around the world. Lories can be extremely messy as the poop is mostly liquid and drops frequently making it quite difficult to maintain the hygiene of the room. If kept as a pet it can very easily be referred to as a hound group in dogs like beagle for example. They will definitely make the loveliest and funniest pet or companion bird but will have certain drawbacks that other parrots may miss out.

Lorikeets and Lories are huge family with over 52 species followed by their different subspecies and now even mutations in almost all species. Lories are extremely vocal just like their activities, they can be extremely loud like the Rainbow Lorikeets or vocally medium like the Lorius family. Sizes of Lories and Lorikeets vary according to their species, they can be as small as the Goldies Lorikeet or as big as the Black Lory. Their calls are usually harsh screeches to soft whistles.


Housing Lories & Lorikeets in Generic Sense


Housing Lories and Lorikeets
Suspended Cages for Lories and Lorikeets


Establishing a conducive and enriching habitat for your Lories and lorikeets is pivotal to their well-being. Consider the following guidelines for housing and environmental considerations with the utmost professionalism.

Invest in a meticulously crafted 36” x 24” x 24” parrot cage, constructed from either powder-coated or stainless steel or galvanized if it is alone or at least 72” x 36” x 36” for a pair, the larger the merrier. Prioritize its integrity by ensuring it remains rust-free and devoid of any chips. Maintain bar spacing between ½ and ½ inches or 3 by ½ inches to guarantee the safety and security of your avian companions. Strategically situate the cage within a vibrant, family-centric space, fostering a sense of inclusion within the familial unit if it is a companion bird or keep it according to your breeding facility.

Given the inherent messiness associated with their droppings, positioning the cage against a solid wall is recommended and will be better if tiles are incorporated on it for a much easier and hassle-free cleaning. Preserve the integrity of floor coverings by proactively selecting suitable materials, especially if the room features carpeting. In the presence of soft flooring, implement protective measures such as plastic or tile coverings beneath the cage. Mitigate environmental risks by avoiding draft-prone areas and excessive exposure to direct sunlight.

Exercise caution in the placement of the cage, refraining from kitchen locations due to potential exposure to cooking fumes and smoke, which can be detrimental to avian health. Maintain a consistent room temperature not exceeding 80 degrees, mindful of drafts generated by air conditioning during bathing and misting routines.

Diversify the cage’s interior with perches of varying materials, including wood dowel, natural branch, cotton rope, or cement perches make sure all of the products used are non-toxic items. This thoughtful assortment prevents foot-related health issues and promotes overall well-being. Facilitate mealtime with a minimum of three clean bowls, designated for fresh water, nectar, and nutritious fresh foods.


Choosing Your Lories and Lorikeets


Probably the hardest decision that you have to make is basically what species you should start with and well that is the same question I can ask myself a million times. Lories are the most beautiful avian creatures in my eyes and looking at the variety of the species that Mother Earth has given on the plate is extremely confusing. All species have different dietary and housing requirements which is the foremost thing one should be looking into while choosing it for themselves.

Strategically you have to research the particular species that you are mostly inclined to, knowing the cost of the species, nutrition requirements, how big of a cage you can allot and the daily maintenance cost creates the different factors on which you can choose your bird. Some may say they love the Red Lories more while some may say Swainson’s Lorikeet are way friendlier while some may find darker shades of the Duyvenbode’s Lory more intriguing.

So, keeping all the special features of each and everything in mind you have to come up with the best possible species that will suit you. Never overburden yourself in getting more Lories than what you can house because rehoming them every time may not be that easy and negligence can cause deterioration in their physical as well as mental health leading to many hazardous diseases which may become a big issue if not taken to an avian vet in the correct time and many cannot afford that as well. So be very aware while buying the particular species to avoid any sort of possible mishap.


Signs of a Healthy Lory/Lorikeet


Healthy Lories and Lorikeets
Healthy Juvenile Red Collared Lorikeet
  • A healthy bird is like a little ball of energy—active, cheerful, and always on the lookout. Look for bright, clear eyes and a clean nose to make sure your bird is feeling good.
  • Watch your bird during mealtime. If it’s happily eating and drinking throughout the day, that’s a sign of a healthy appetite, which means your bird is in good shape.
  • Take a moment to appreciate your bird’s appearance. A content bird has well-groomed feathers that lie smoothly against its body. It’s like a little fashion show, and if the feathers look good, your bird probably feels good too!
  • Check your bird’s feet and legs. They should be smooth and free from any lumps, scabs, or rough scales. Healthy feet mean a happy bird that’s well taken care of.
  • Birds love to talk! If your bird is making chirps, clicks, whistles, or even saying some learned words, that’s a good sign. It shows your bird is not just happy but also loves communicating.
  • A healthy bird is both confident and curious. It’s not afraid to explore new things, but it also stays cautious. If your bird feels at ease in different situations, it’s probably in good health.



Source Citation:

  • Specialized care for Avian & Exotic Pets (

Please Note: The article is completely owned by Gift Of Flight and our own experience is shared in the content, any comments in the relevant context will be appreciated.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *