Re: Rainbow Lorikeet range in the 1970s

To: "Robert Inglis" <>
Subject: Re: Rainbow Lorikeet range in the 1970s
From: John Tongue <>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2008 17:43:06 +1000
Hi Bob, et. al.,
My guess as to why Robyn asked for personal memories is that distribution maps are often not terribly accurate. I, too, checked Slater, and found a wide distribution in Tasmania for Rainbow Lorikeets. However, Sharland's "Guide to the birds of Tasmania", from 1981 says they are rare in Tas, and most likely all from Aviary Escapees. He maintains that the odd pair seen together does not necessarily imply breeding. BUT, since then, numbers have been increasing in certain parts of Tas. When we moved here to Ulverstone, almost a year ago, we were told there had been half a dozen around for some years. Soon after, we saw 12 in a flock, and just recently counted 32 (!) feeding in a flowering Eucalypt. I fear we are going to go down the same path as Perth.

John Tongue
Ulverstone, Tas.

On 16/03/2008, at 10:01 AM, Robert Inglis wrote:

Robyn Charlton asked (Sat, 15 Mar 2008 19:53:58 +1100)

"Just wondering can anyone remember what the range was for Rainbow Lorikeets
back in the 1970's?"

By using the term "range" I assume Robyn means "distribution range" or that part of Australia where Rainbow Lorikeets are likely to be seen.

Rather than relying on 30 year old memories which, in any case, are of only a small part of the overall distribution area of Rainbow Lorikeets, I consulted the 1970 edition of Peter Slater's "A Field Guide to Australian Birds" and compared the distribution map with those in the latest Australian bird field Guide (the Peter Menkhorst edited 2007 version of the Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight "The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia") and the second Atlas Of Australian Birds.

Considering that distribution maps are somewhat imprecise, there appears to be not much difference in the 'range' of this species (which includes the sub-species Red-collared Lorikeet) between then and now with the following exceptions: - Rainbow Lorikeets are now found around the Perth, Western Australia, area; - the 'range' was much greater in Tasmania in the 1970s than appears to be the case now.

If the question was intended to be about the abundance levels of Rainbow Lorikeets (including the Red-collared Lorikeet sub-species) in the 1970s compared with now, then the answer could be quite different. I know that the numbers of Rainbow Lorikeets in South East Queensland are much reduced now compared to those in the 1970s. And I am quite sure that the prime reason for that is the loss of nesting sites and suitable food due to the land development deemed necessary for human habitation. The effects of introduced species (by self- or assisted- introduction) would have had very little to do with changes in the 'range' or numbers of Rainbow Lorikeets.


Bob Inglis
Sandstone Point


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