Rainbow Lorrikeets in the White Gum Trees at Russell Island

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http://www.australianwildlife.com.au/rainbow.htm

 

  • active, noisy, belligerent, conspicuous
  • strongly gregarious; usually travel in parties of a few dozen; much larger flocks congregate where there are is plenty of food
  • brush tipped tongue – adaptation for feeding on pollen and nectar
    use powder downs – special down feathers with the tip constantly breaking down to form a waxy powder that the bird spreads through the plumage during preening
  • bathe by fluttering among foliage soaked by due or rain

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  • pollen is a rich source of protein; major component of the diet
  • nectar, blossoms mainly from Myrtaceae, Proteacea, Xanthoroaceae
  • fruits, berries, seeds, occasionally insects (beetles, wasps, thrips, ants, weevils) and larvae (fly maggots, weevil larvae, moth larvae)
  • also apples, pears, mangos – can cause damage to orchards
  • also maize and sorghum crops where they feed on the unripe ‘milky’ grain

 

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  • extract nectar with their brush-tipped tongue after first crushing the flowers with their bill; tiny hair-like projections (papillae) on the end of the tongue are extended while feeding to soak up nectar and gather pollen from blossoms
  • use open bill in sideways brushes up and down the sides of spiked flowers like Xanthorrhoea, Banksia, Melaleuca, Callistemon; this collects pollen and nectar droplets on the edge of their bills
  • place open bill over a blossom and project their tongue into the receptacles to get at the nectar then comb their bill across the stamens to collect pollen
  • for hard fruits of rainforest trees, they grate the fruit on the inside of their open bill
  • extract seeds from sheoak cones and pieces by using the tip of the upper mandible to ease the winged seed from the dehiscing cone
    sweet, fleshy fruits are removed from seed by rolling it with their tongue against the plates inside the upper mandible
  • chew green Eucalyptus flower and leaf buds

 

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  • very fast with rapid wingbeats
  • fly high when travelling long distances; on short flights manoeuvre between trees
  • establish flight paths from the roosting sites that are followed daily; these paths tend to follow geographic features like the coastline or a line of hills, valleys, rivers

 

 

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http://www.australianwildlife.com.au/rainbow.htm

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Birds Australia

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A rosella is one of five to eight species of colourful Australianparrots in the genus Platycercus. Platycercus means “broad-tailed” or “flat-tailed”, reflecting a feature common to the rosellas and other members of the broad-tailed parrot tribe. Their diet is mainly seeds and fruit

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosella

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Rosellas feed predominantly on seeds and fruit, with food held in the foot. They enjoy bathing in puddles of water in the wild and in captivity.[4] Rosellas scratch their heads with the foot behind the wing.[4]

Mutual preening is not exhibited by the genus, and the courtship display is simple; the male waves his tail sideways, and engages in some head bobbing, and the female reciprocates.[3]

Like most parrots, they are cavity nesters, generally nesting high in older large trees in forested areas. They generally have a clutch size of several eggs which are incubated for around 21 days by the…

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