Chris Watson

Birding Central Australia #52

Chris Watson

Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus moluccanus

This stunning bird is not one I had hoped to encounter this week. This will be familiar to many as the Rainbow Lorikeet, one of the most dazzling of all our parrots. If you head further north in The Territory you will find Rainbow Lorikeets… but not this particular kind. About as far south as Mataranka, we get a sub-species of the Rainbow Lorikeet, which some have even elevated to full species status as the Red-collared Lorikeet. The bird in this picture is the southern and eastern sub-species familiar in backyards from Adelaide, right around the east coast.

There have been increasingly frequent reports of small flocks of these parrots from Old Eastside, Northside, and Larapinta, and this week I found a couple of birds in the Grandfather Tree – the big old River Red Gum at the corner of Parsons Street and Todd Mall.

I’m often accused of banging on about feral birds a bit, and there are some in the community who have a “live and let live” attitude to avian invaders, and they’re welcome to their opinions, but the Rainbow Lorikeet is just that - an invader. This is a hardy species that will breed quickly and push to the margins any of our native birds that are smaller or less aggressive.

They’ll surely add a splash of colour to Todd Mall, but it’s a brash, gaudy sort of colour, completely at odds with our surrounds. It’s bird bling gone crazy and simply no match for the subdued pastels of a Galah, the tidy colour scheme of a Port Lincoln Parrot or the spangled evening gown sported by the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo.

Please let me know where else these birds are being seen, and have a very birdy weekend!