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A photo of a Little Lorikeet (Parvipsitta pusilla)
Little Lorikeet

Little Lorikeet

Parvipsitta pusilla

The Little Lorikeet, a diminutive parrot with a predominantly green plumage, is adorned with a striking red face. Both sexes are similarly colored, though the female may appear slightly less vibrant. The crown, lores, and throat exhibit a vivid red, transitioning to a bronze hue at the nape and shoulders. The rest of the plumage is a lush green, with the belly showing a paler, yellow-green shade. Adult birds boast a black bill and golden irises, while the younger ones have a paler orange face with brown irises and bills.

Identification Tips

When identifying the Little Lorikeet, look for its small stature, measuring about 15 cm in length. The red facial markings are distinctive, as is the contrast between the bronze-colored nape and the green body. The paler belly and the coloration of the bill and iris can help distinguish adults from juveniles.

Habitat

This species thrives in subtropical or tropical dry forests, as well as moist lowland forests. They are particularly drawn to areas with flowering or fruit-bearing vegetation.

Distribution

Endemic to Australia, the Little Lorikeet's range extends from Cairns in the north, down through Queensland and New South Wales, across most of Victoria, and into southeastern South Australia. It is also present, albeit less commonly, in Tasmania.

Behaviour

The Little Lorikeet is a sociable bird, often seen in the company of other lorikeet species such as the Rainbow, Musk, and Purple-crowned Lorikeets. They exhibit gregarious behavior, forming flocks that add a splash of color and vibrancy to the forest canopy.

Feeding

Nectar and pollen from the blossoms of woodland trees, including Eucalyptus, Angophora, and Melaleuca species, comprise the bulk of the Little Lorikeet's diet. They also feed on the nectar of native grasstrees and occasionally indulge in fruits like native mistletoe and the introduced loquat, as well as making visits to orchards.

Breeding

The breeding season varies by region, starting in May in the north and August in the south, and continues until December. Nests are hollows in trees where the female lays a clutch of 3-5 matte white, roundish eggs. These eggs, measuring 20 x 16 mm, are incubated for approximately three weeks.

Conservation Status

The Little Lorikeet is currently classified as Least Concern by the IUCN, indicating a stable population without significant threats to its survival at this time.

Similar Species

While the Little Lorikeet is unique in its size and facial coloration, it may be confused with other lorikeet species. Observers should note the specific red and bronze markings and smaller size to differentiate it from its relatives.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Little Lorikeet is primarily composed of nectar and pollen, which they obtain from a variety of flowering trees. They are also known to consume fruits and occasionally visit orchards, showcasing their adaptability in foraging.

In the voice of David Attenborough: "In the verdant canopies of Australia's forests, the Little Lorikeet flits from blossom to blossom, its red face a beacon among the green. This tiny avian jewel, with its sociable nature and sweet diet, is a delightful subject for any birdwatcher's field guide."

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