Hybrid Rainbow/Musk Lorikeets

To: ? birding-aus <>, <>
Subject: Hybrid Rainbow/Musk Lorikeets
From: Peter Ewin <>
Date: Sun, 1 Nov 2009 21:08:34 +1100
Hi all
While on a recent trip to the Yorke Peninsula (report to follow) we stopped 
briefly to give the kids a break in Balaklava (possibly part of the southern 
Clare Region in SA). In a park in the middle of town I came across a pair of 
lorikeets with their dependent young that were quietly sitting in a low branch. 
The interesting thing about this pair that one of the parents was a Musk 
Lorikeet while the other was obviously a hybrid between a Rainbow Lorikeet and 
a Musk. It was slightly larger than a Musk, had the bright red forehead of this 
species but also had faint blue face pattern (below the eye and beak) and some 
yellow feathers on the breast though not much as on a normal Rainbow. The two 
chicks differed as well, one having a faint blue face mask and the other much 
closer to a Musk though some faint yellow markings on the breast.
Although I realise hybrids between lorikeets are relatively common in aviaries 
and they are known in the wild (particularly Rainbow and Scaly-breasted) I was 
always under the impression that these hybrids would be infertile (like a 
mule). I know there are all sorts of issues with species concepts and 
hybridisations, but this one is particularly interesting in that not only is it 
a cross species hybridisation but also a cross genus one.
Has anyone on this group come across this before with these species (or any 
others) where an obvious hybrid has sucessfully bred with a member of one its 
parents species?

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