|Common Name:||Ultramarine Lorikeet|
|Scientific Name:||Vini ultramarina|
|Life Span:||20 to 30 years|
|Habitat:||Coconut plantations, woodlands, and tropical forest|
|Country of Origin:||Marquesas Island, French Polynesia|
Lorikeets are smaller parrots that are more colorful than other parrots. Their beaks are not large. As pets, they can learn human language. They are affectionate towards their owners. They live longer too. However, they need high maintenance and commitment from their owners.
In the world, this species is considered one of the most endangered parrots. It is exclusive on the Marquesas Islands. This remote archipelago is in the South Pacific Ocean. Ultramarine lorikeets are so unique for their plumage and one of the most beautiful lories. They are called pihit by the people in the Marquesan Islands. Their call is a piercing squawk which echoes on the island. Before, they were all over the archipelago, but when their habitats were destroyed, and rats and cats exist, their small number is only in Ua Huka Island.
- Kingdom is Animalia
- Phylum is Chordata
- Class is Aves
- Order is Psittaciformes
- Family is Psittaculidae
- Genus is Vini
- Species is V. ultramarina
- Binomial name is Vini ultramarine
The Ultramarine lorikeets are small birds having just 7 inches’ or 18 centimeters in size. They weigh 35 grams. Both sexes look identical, but the female is smaller. For adults, legs and beak are bright oranges. The front head is turquoise, and the cap is Prussian blue, while the throat and cheeks are blue and white. The back and wings have various shades of turquoise.
Prussian blue for the chest and white belly shading the dark blue. The tail comes in turquoise blue and white tones on end. The young ultramarines have brown highlights on their body and head and plumage that brightens. They lack white on their underparts and are blackish uniformly. Irises are dark brown, the bill is black, and the legs are orange-brown.
Distribution and Habitat
The Ultramarine Lorikeet was found on some islands of Marquesas, especially in Ua Pou, Nuku Hiva, Hiva Oa, and Tahuata. Sadly, this species is found extinct on these four mentioned islands. Now, this species was introduced on another island, the Ua Huka, which now has 1000 couples. Now, only this island has this species.
Thirty of this type of bird were translocated to Fatu Hiva in the year 90s, but because of the black cats’ arrival on this island, this species is extinct. Ultramarine lorikeets are at elevations above 700 meters. They are seen on coconut, banana, and mango plantations, as well as gardens, woodlands, and forests.
Their natural diet includes various fruits, pollens, blossoms, buds, and insects, as well. They are seen eating on flowering trees. They prefer coconut palm flowers, fruits like banana, and mango.
They have a long and sharp hissing sound, which is like piii, piii, piii. They make this sound while on a flight or on a branch.
This bird, as a lorikeet, is monogamous mostly. Breeding happens the whole year. Nesting is from June to August. Their nests are found in hollow trees. Sometimes they use other species’ nest. They lay 2 white eggs between September and January. Eggs measure 22 by 18 millimeters. The chicks need eight weeks to be independent. The females attend to their eggs, but both feed and protect their young. The chicks are featherless, helpless, and blind, but they develop fast and could fly in 2 months.
Ultramarine lorikeets are approachable when fed particularly. When feeding, they eat berries and nectars in the wild. They utilize their tongue to take the nectar and pollen. In terms of nuts or seeds, they use their beaks to break them.
Ultramarine lorikeets are classified as endangered for the reason that they exist on one island only. If there would no means did to preserve them, they could go totally extinct. If the black rats would reach Ua Huka, the only island where these birds exist, they could go critically endangered. These black rats are seen to be the main cause of the decline. In addition, other islands were grazed and burned to make the forests and grasslands disappear.
The ultramarine lorikeets are predated by a black rat. Moreover, deforestation for logging, tourism, and farms cause a decline in the lorikeets’ population. Forests have been burned, including the grasslands leading to the decline of this bird’s population.
How to Care
Before taking care of a lorikeet or a lory, it is very important to know the regulations, for there are many parrots that are endangered and protected by the CITES. This is to protect the wild and endangered parrots enter the market.
1. Bear in mind that lorikeets are energetic and active, whether in captivity or in the wild. Therefore, they must have an avenue to release their energy. Give them sufficient exercise like plays or interactions to avoid unwanted or negative behaviors.
2. They are mainly fed on nectars, pollen, and fruits.
3. Lorikeets are monogamous. They breed throughout the year. They nest from June to August. They nest in hollow trees. The clutch size is 2 to 3 eggs. Chicks need two months to be independent. Both parents fed their chicks.
4. Illnesses could show symptoms, so it is critical that you take note of changes in your bird’s behavior or physical features like the beaks, wings, and feathers. If symptoms are noticed, take your bird to the vet for necessary treatment. Sick lorikeets should be quarantined. Bowls and cages must be cleaned well.
Signs of Illnesses
1. Sleeping more than usual.
2. Eating less.
3. Screaming more than the normal or screams in another way.
4. Abnormal feces.
5. The plumage is ruffled.
6. Plumage loses normal luster.
7. Plucking of the feather.
8. Bare spots in the plumage.
9. Discharge from nostrils.
10. Abnormal frequency of sneezing.
Common Problems and Preventions
1. Yeast infection. This is caused by high sugar content. Signs are being lethargic and less energetic. Seek your vet’s advice as soon as possible.
2. Fungal infection. This is brought out by food contamination or lack of Vitamin A, making them eat or pick anything. Thus, it is so important to keep their environment clean by regular cleaning, giving fresh food and water is clean and fresh.
3. Bacterial infections. Bacteria are taken from their home, environment, or other animals. Antibiotic powder could be given or put a heater near their cage.
4. Feather and beak disease. This is known as the BPFD. It is spread by droppings or feather dust. Unfortunately, young birds die even they leave their nest. Luckily, some birds developed their immunity. However, they could carry the virus their whole life. there isn’t a vaccine, but it could be prevented by giving a clean environment.
5. Stress. This is common to birds in captivity. Kids could give them stress due to too much chasing or grabbing. Giving time for adjusting to a new environment is important. Stress could lead to more sickness.
6. Obesity. To burn calories, let them play and exercise. A healthy diet is necessary.
7. Injury or trauma. Injuries could be on the feet, wings, beak, and leg. Be careful when you let them out or handling them.
1. They can grow up to 18 centimeters long.
2. They have a brush-like tongue to help them eat pollens and nectars.
3. They like eating fruits.
4. They are so noisy.
5. They are seen on top of forest canopies.
6. They lay 2 to 3 eggs.
7. They are found on Ua Huka.
8. They are endangered due to loss of habitat and black rats that eat eggs.
Knowing Parakeets from Lorikeets
Both have a small to a medium-sized type of body. They come from similar scientific classification, but lorikeets just have additional classification. They belong to the subfamily or Loriinae. This subfamily has about 50 species.
In terms of size, lorikeet is bigger than parakeets, and they have the brush tongues that help them eat nectars and so on. This tongue is exclusive to them. Lorikeets have colorful and bright plumage. They are energetic and mimic sounds. They are Pacific parrots found nearby Australia. Larger ones are called lories.
Parakeet is an American word used to describe a small bird having a small body and a long tail. They are fed on seeds from the market or pet store.
Both are intelligent and playful and love their owner’s attention as well as other people. Apart from that, they are curious. They need a stimulating type of environment. lorikeets are more expensive because of the high maintenance. Moreover, they come in the flock, making them sociable with people and other birds.
In other words, parakeets have a small to the medium-sized body of bird having a long tail. Both belong to the same classification. They have different diets. parakeets eat seeds whereas lorikeets eat nectar and pollen. Lorikeets have a brush tongue. Lorikeets are costlier than parakeets in terms of being a pet, but they have the same behavior and nature. Lorikeets are more appealing because of their color. Plus, they are in the pacific and lives in the woodlands or tropical forests.
Dealing with Lorikeets
Here are a few things to do in dealing with your lorikeets.
• You should tame your bird. It is common for them to be shy in their new home. To touch them, hold some treats and wait till it comes to you. when it has set and felt comfortable, try getting it out of its cage. Talk to them while they are inside the cage. This way, they will be familiar with your voice. Don’t startle them by walking noisily in the room.
• Pat and do a stroke on it. They want this feeling of being handled and touched. Make it your routine. If you see uneasiness as you touch, give it more time to be more relaxed when handled and pet.
• Set your bird free from its cage sometimes. Play with it and let it explore and have interactions with you. An hour a day is enough, but make sure it would be free from any dangers outside.
• Keep it near you. Let it feel belongingness to you or other people. Spend lots of time with it. If possible, take it with you if you go somewhere.
• Give ample space for playing. Large cages are ideal.
• Provide toys for playing. You can buy an Ultramarine lorikeet from a pet store.
• Including toys for foraging to avoid boredom and stimulate life in the wild.
• Do a rotation of their toys. Like people, they get bored with the same toy every time. give various designs and styles.
• Include perches for climbing. Perches should be safe and clean.
• Leave some food for them.
• Don’t leave them alone. Another mate of the same species is good. Don’t put another species.
• Give your full attention as they tend to be jealous and could misbehave.
• Give toys that are safe for them.
• Don’t let your bird get out of their cage without your knowledge.
Housing Your Lorikeet
a. Buy an aviary. It could be aluminum and get the largest you can see. Put it in a concrete slab with slight slopes. Making use of a wooden frame or steel could be an alternative. A concrete base can be replaced by a wire base for dropping to drop. A small roosting box can put for nesting and shelter.
b. Get a large cage of 4 to 5 feet. keep it either outside or inside.
c. The cage could be 2 feet cube. A small cage will make your bird unhappy.
d. The bars should be over 5 inches. Make sure your bird will not be able to escape from it.
e. Put plants and shrubs. This will the environment enjoyable for your bird. It could be their food too. These plants must not be toxic to your bird.
f. Buy perches for your bird to fly to, sleep on, or stand on. Perches are important in your bird’s life. perch should be 4 inches long and has 5 inches’ diameter.
g. Buy a mister. It will give moisture once the temperature goes up.
h. Put toys.
i. Include a shallow bath for your bird to clean itself and play in it.
j. Check that the temperature is from 70 to 80. There should be a stable climate. There shouldn’t be fluctuation.
k. Provide food dishes and clean water every day. Wash the dishes every day and pour new water.
l. Wash down the droppings.
m. Wipe the perches, toys, and so on in the cage. Sanitize everything.
n. Don’t house your lorikeets with the other birds. Don’t leave them with the other birds as they tend to be aggressive. Seek advice from your vet in case you want to house some of them.
o. Let your bird roam around your house. Give them some time to be happy, but secure all doors and windows.
p. Get an extra cage in case you have to take it to the vet or cleaning their primary cage.
Availability: Where to Get One?
Unfortunately, these ultramarine lorikeets are endangered and endemic to one island only. That means you cannot buy this from a pet store or shop as it is protected for its conservation.
Is a lorikeet a parrot?
Yes, they are. Loriinis are arboreal parrots that have a brush tongue, which they use for nectar-eating. This group includes lorikeets and lories.
How can you tell a male from a female lorikeet?
Unfortunately, their feathers and colors are so identical, so their physical appearance makes it difficult to tell their sexes apart. Usually, males are larger than females. Using DNA will be a way to tell.
What do lorikeet birds eat?
In the wild, they are fed on pollen and nectars, but they eat fruits and berries, too, as well as buds and blossoms.
Are lorikeets noisy?
Yes, they tend to be noisy most, especially when they are in flight, eating, and roosting.
How do you make lorikeet food?
Mix the following: four cups water, a tablespoon of pollen, a tablespoon of honey, two cups of baby cereal, a half teaspoon of calcium carbonate, a half teaspoon of multivitamin powder, a half cup of skimmed powder milk. Pour this mixture in a tray of ice cube then freeze.
Can lorikeets eat sunflower seeds?
They are not accustomed to eating seeds since nectar and fruits are their primary food. nectars, pollens, and fruits are still the best and recommended for them.
Can lorikeets drink milk?
Yes, they can. Complan is a powder mix having vitamins and good ingredients. They can go off quickly in warm weather inside.
How often do lorikeets lay eggs?
They can lay eggs of 3 broods having 2 eggs in each season.
How do you attract lorikeets?
To attract a lorikeet, grow some native plants, or having a birdbath outside is good. They love bathing and splashing in clean water after eating. Don’t give foods like seeds, bread, or biscuits.
Can lorikeets eat roses?
Here are the flowers considered safe or lorikeets: dandelion, fuscia, sunflowers, linseed, bankcia, hibiscus, bottle brush, hips, wattle, roses petals, and tea-tree. Dandelions are a good tonic for their liver.
What trees do lorikeets like?
They like the trees bungalow palms, like lillipillis, and quandongs. These trees are liked by various species of birds.
How can you tell how old a lorikeet is?
At 14 days, eyes are open. at the 20th day, their body is covered in gray. On the 40th day, the juvenile’s body is nearly covered with feathers, and on the 60th day, the chick has developed feathers and tries to fly.
What is the best food for lorikeets?
Nectars. However, fruits and veggies like the leafy green veggies, but not all veggies are safe for them.
Can lorikeets eat watermelon?
Watermelons are a delight for them. The sweet taste gives them fun. Other sweet fruits are loved by the lorikeets.
Do birds sleep in the same area every night?
In the daytime, they tend to sleep in the same place. Birds sleep in the trees or chimneys to protect themselves from predators.
Can lorikeets eat almonds?
Readily available nuts in the market are safe for lorikeets. Thus, almond is okay. Peanuts, hazelnuts, and walnuts are all safe.
Are lorikeets aggressive?
Yes, they tend to be aggressive to other birds, so be careful when new birds are introduced. Birds of the same species fight for dominance.
Why do lorikeets puff up?
Puffing means your bird is cold and wants to warm up. It is a way to conserve warm in their bodies, or they puff in summer to get cooler too.
How do I know if my parrot is happy?
A flat crest or slightly raised is an indication of happiness.
Do birds show affection?
Accordingly, mutual preening and sharing food among mates show the love between them.