Mystery Boigu Island Lorikeets

Subject: Mystery Boigu Island Lorikeets
From: richard baxter <>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2003 02:30:31 -0700 (PDT)
Hello all,

Mystery Boigu Island Lorikeets

In Sept 2002 I spent a few days on Boigu Island (Australian Territory in the Torres Strait). Although this posting is a bit late it may assist those visiting in the future with lorikeet ID.

On one of the days we visited a camping area on the opposite (southern) side of the island than the village. The island is dissected by a river and access to this camping area is by boat. Upon arriving at the camping area we flushed a large flock of lorikeets from high in the trees. The flock numbered 30-40 birds and flew across the sun and then away into the sun, providing only silhouette views. The entire flock was totally silent and showed nil bright colours. If any colour could be distinguished at all I would say I saw an overall colour of dark brown. Definitely not the colouration of a Rainbow Lorikeet.

I saw several groups of rainbows whilst on the island and at all times when flying they were very vocal. Even those birds on longer flights that were high up were very vocal. I find it nearly impossible for 30-40 Rainbow Lorikeets to take off out of tree upon seeing a group of people without a making single sound.

The birds were also slightly more streamlined than Rainbow Lorikeets and very similar in size. The next day I was standing next to the airport on Boigu and two of the same lorikeets again flew over heading north-south. This time the birds were higher up, but yet again travelling in total silence. Again virtually no colours could be seen on the birds, but it was obviuos these birds were not Rainbow Lorikeets. Over the next few hours small flocks of Rainbow Lorikeets (4-6) flew over at the same height and all were vocal (as always). Depending on their postion to the sun at least a small amount of colour could be seen on all the birds and all were easily identified as rainbows.

Upon returning to our accomodation that evening several of us looked at a few New Guinea field guides to try and pin the species down but due to the poor views we were unable to do so. So therefore I believe there is a species of lorikeet on Boigu that is not Rainbow Lorikeet and also not on the Australian list. Interestingly there seems to be good numbers of them on the island, its just a matter of someone getting good views of them when they are not flying across the sun.

Good birding

Richard Baxter


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