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Rainbow lorikeet

Rainbow lorikeet

Updated 12 January 2018 3:29pm

Rainbow lorikeet
Trichoglossus haematodus

Why are rainbow lorikeets a problem?

Rainbow lorikeets compete with native birds by dominating their food sources and nesting sites. They pose a threat to New Zealand’s native nectar eating species such as tui and bellbirds, by competing for the same food sources.  They also compete for nest-hole sites with native species such as kaka and kakariki.

Rainbow lorikeets can damage apples, grapes and other soft orchard fruits. They pose a significant threat to the commercial fruit growing and vineyard industries of the Wellington region.

Description and background

Rainbow lorikeets are native to parts of Australia, and were introduced to New Zealand as part of the pet trade. They are a medium-sized multi-coloured parrot, with a distinctive blue head and belly, green wings, tail and back and an orange/yellow breast. They give a distinctive screeching call.

They can be confused with the commonly seen eastern rosella which has a red head and breast, or the native kakariki which is predominantly green all over but has a small red or orange crown.

Common Eastern rosella Photo: MAFBNZ

What can I do?

Greater Wellington is not aware of any resident wild populations of rainbow lorikeet within the region. They are found for sale in some pet shops. It is not an offence to own, sell or hold rainbow lorikeets, but it is illegal to release them into the wild.

If you suspect there is a rainbow lorikeet living in the wild within the region, notify Greater Wellington and MAF Biosecurity New Zealand. If you have an unwanted pet parrot DO NOT release the animal into the wild, take it to the SPCA, a local pet shop or contact Greater Wellington.

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