RE: Rainbow Lorikeets [SEC=UNOFFICIAL]

To: <>
Subject: RE: Rainbow Lorikeets [SEC=UNOFFICIAL]
From: "Perkins, Harvey" <>
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2010 10:46:29 +1100
OK, I might have drawn a long bow re Musk and Rainbow lorikeet similarities, and I do agree that Rainbow Lorikeets are probably expanding their range naturally along with many other species at the moment such as White-headed Pigeons, Eastern Koels and Channel-billed Cuckoos, Spangled Drongos etc, but I do feel that the apparent site fidelity of the nascent Rainbow Lorikeet population in Canberra to the Hawker area, and with increasing time, the surrounding suburbs, fits well with a captive nucleus origin scenario.
To my mind the Rainbow Lorikeet situation is not dissimilar, in appearance, to the origins and slow expansion of Common Mynas from their very restricted distribution in Narrabundah in the early 80s. This is another species that is expanding it's range generally, but I was under the impression that in this case the origin of the Canberra population is fairly clearly identified to a small number of released individuals.

Harvey Perkins
CRC Selection Rounds Section

Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research


From: Philip Veerman [
Sent: Tuesday, 21 December 2010 11:16 PM
To: Perkins, Harvey;
Subject: Rainbow Lorikeets

That is a curious suggestion Harvey. I wonder why you should think the two species should follow the same trend. I wouldn't know if you are right or partly right or whatever. Although you are saying they don't and suggest the difference as due to releases. Is there much difference in the rate of captivity / release / escape between the two species? I don't know. I've seen both in captivity. All it would take is for the Rainbow Lorikeet to have more of a tendency to stay when conditions are good than the Musk Lorikeet and that alone could create a difference between the population trends between the two. I do agree with your last sentence.
I believe the increase in the Rainbow Lorikeet in Melbourne followed a few years behind a similar but less dramatic increase in the Musk Lorikeets in Melbourne. But that is based on my impressions, rather than number evidence. 
-----Original Message-----
From: Perkins, Harvey [
Sent: Tuesday, 21 December 2010 4:12 PM
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Rainbow Lorikeets? [SEC=UNOFFICIAL]

further musing on the occurrence of Rainbow Lorikeets in Canberra...
I would have expected that the natural incidence of Rainbow Lorikeets in the Canberra region would be at about the same level as the natural incidence of Musk Lorikeets. As Canberra is marginal to the main (coastal) distribution of both species, birds occurring here naturally would likely be birds moving about (ie west, as Tonya inferred) due to either local/regional seasonal flowering or population pressure movements. These birds are likely, for the most part, to occur in small numbers and stay for only brief periods of time.
Musk Lorikeets are quite scarce in Canberra, so to my mind, the most likely explanation for the recent establishment of the small local population of Rainbow Lorikeets is that it evolved from a small nucleus of non-naturally occurring birds, either released (eg Tidbinbilla releases) or aviary escaped birds, or both, which with the assistance of artificial feeding managed to survive Canberra winters. From there the population is slowly increasing, and slowly spreading, perhaps with the occasional incorporation of further escaped birds and possibly wild nomadic birds originating from outside the region. 
If this is the case I would anticipate the population would continue to grow, albeit slowly. Increased availability of food from cultivated year-round flowering garden plants and artificial feeding, and the impacts of climate change, would assist this growth.
Harvey Perkins
CRC Selection Rounds Section

Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

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