The Swainsons Lorikeet or Swainsons Lorie is the most well known subspecies of Rainbow Lorikeet. They are usually referred to as Rainbow Lorikeets and are also known as Blue Mountain Lorikeets.
These colourful parrots live in Australia, from Cape York Peninsula down the east coast and Tasmania. There is an isolated population in Perth, Western Australia that are considered to be pests.
Their conservation status is secure.
Description: Swainsons Lorikeets are very active and entertaining as companion pets. Every object and noise will be investigated with great delight and often turned into a game. They are born clowns as they like to be silly and exaggerate their movements. Lorikeets love to play and will often roll onto their backs to wrestle with your hands or play with a foot toy. A lorikeet may decide to hop instead of walk to get from A to B.
As they are so active, Rainbows need to be provided with plenty of toys. They are particularly fond of things they can swing on, make noise with and foot toys. While they like to shred things and occasionally chew, they aren’t huge on chewing compared to many other parrot species.
Rainbow Lorikeets need a large-sized cage as they are quite energetic and tend to use every corner of it. They also love water and enjoy a bath or shower nearly every day.
They go to the toilet frequently, and tend to ‘squirt’ their liquidy droppings rather than simply ‘squat’. This increases the risk of feces landing on the walls and outside the cage. Many lorikeet owners prevent this by putting plastic barriers on the wall behind the cage or clipping a sheet to the back of the cage. However, being liquid droppings does make them easy to wipe and clean up.
Life Span: A Rainbow Lorikeet’s lifespan is around 20-30 years.
Breeding: While wild Rainbow Lorikeets tend to prefer more horizontal or 45 degrees tree hollows, captive lorikeets are known to accept nest boxes of varied designs. The nest box often does well if positioned high in the aviary.
Housing breeding lorikeets is best as a single pair per aviary because they can become quite quarrelsome during breeding season.
The female lays two eggs. Incubation lasts for about 24 days, with the chicks fledging at 55-60 days old.
Housing and Enviroment: Although they can be housed in conventional aviaries, suspended aviaries are reccomended for lorikeets due to the mess they make with their droppings. Suspended aviaries should be at minimum 2 metres long x 90cm wide x 90cm high, with at least 2.7 metres being the preferred length.1
Rainbow Lorikeets are very aggressive towards other birds so keeping them in mixed aviaries is not recommended. Plus complications may arise when mixing lorikeets with other birds due to different dietary needs.
Lorikeets can be kept in social groups together in a large aviary. Fighting and squabbling can still occur; therefore birdkeepers should monitor the birds regularly.
Sexing: Swainson’s Lorikeet/Rainbow lorikeets do not have any immediately discernible dimorphic traits. Males and females look identical, and surgical sexing by a vet or DNA analysis of a feather is used to determine the sex of an individual.
Diet: Swainson’s Lorikeets should also be feed fruit and vegetables. They are specialised in eating nectar as their main food source. They also require more fruit compared to other parrots. In captivity a lorikeet’s base diet should be either wet or dry nectar mix (or both). Lorikeet food can either be bought commercially or there are a number of recipes for making it yourself, usually composed of baby cereal, rice flour, breadcrumbs, glucose powder, skim milk powder, semolina (wheat hearts), pollen mixture, etc. Lorikeets pellets are also available but are generally not recommended or accepted by the birds.
If there is no gender option listed for a bird on our website, that particular species is ‘monomorphic’, which means we’re unable to determine gender without purchasing DNA testing. DNA testing is an additional $149 per bird to guarantee preferred gender. DNA testing may add an additional 3-6 plus weeks to estimated delivery time to allow for gender results. See our FAQs for more info.