wattlebirds and mystery parrot

To: 'Philip Veerman' <>, 'Mark Clayton' <>, "" <>
Subject: wattlebirds and mystery parrot
From: Lia Battisson <>
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2017 06:10:19 +0000

I have long thought that the aviary may be the explanation for the influx of Lorikeets in Canberra.  No proof of anything, but it would be nice to have that source excluded!


From: Philip Veerman [
Sent: Thursday, 21 September 2017 11:24 AM
To: 'Mark Clayton' <>;
Subject: [canberrabirds] wattlebirds and mystery parrot


At last time (about 5 years ago) I looked at the tourist attraction Gold Creek aviary, there was a wide range of variants of lorikeet appearances. Most presumably are hybrids and quite likely with spontaneous occurring mutations also included in the historical mix. I think there are Rainbow Lorikeets, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet and Musk Lorikeets contributing to the hybrid gene pool although in what proportions I have no idea. Hybridisation is not uncommon even in wild lorikeets at edges of their range. Over time that can generate lots of variety. When I looked at zoo birds in Philippine zoos, I noted similar types of mixes of oddities in parrots there. Even stranger, though with no successful breeding, in the big aviary in Melbourne zoo, an Eclectus Parrot and Major Mitchell Cockatoo for years (so I am told) behaved as a pair and occupied a nest hollow. I watched that and got a photo of it and asked other people in Melbourne ..........




From: Mark Clayton
Sent: Thursday, 21 September, 2017 11:06 AM
Subject: [canberrabirds] wattlebirds and mystery parrot


Morning all,


Yesterday the Red Wattlebirds who had a nest in my front yard fledged two young.


Also yesterday morning at around 0800 as I stopped my car in my driveway I heard a distinctive lorikeet call coming from the top of a tree in my backyard. The bird was sitting at the top of the tree in the open and I very quickly realised that it wasn’t one of the usual local Rainbow Lorikeets. A quick dash inside for my binoculars and a notebook was grabbed from the car. The quick description that I took is as follows: -orange bill, crown and face reddish orange, breast and collar pale yellowish, back, upper tail and underparts dirty green, under tail yellow. There was a blackish (?) line just through the eye. As noted above the call was reminiscent of the local Rainbow Lorikeets but slightly higher in pitch. It was about two thirds the size of two Rainbow Lorikeets that conveniently landed beside the mystery bird before chasing it away. Unfortunately it flew away from me so I was not able to see any underwing colour.


I checked Joe Forshaw and Frank Knight’s  book Parrots of the World and the closest bird I can find to the mystery bird is the Iris Lorikeet, Psitteuteles iris, which is found in Timor and a few close islands. Personally I don’t think that it was this species and more likely a hybrid Scaly-breasted Lorikeet with something but I don’t know what. I don’t think there was any Rainbow Lorikeet in the bird. Any suggestions gratefully received. It is on my GBS chart as a “hybrid lorikeet”.



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