Scaly Breasted Lorikeet

Quick Facts

Length: 23 cm
Height: -
Weight: 86 grams
Colour: -
Habitat: Lowland eucalypt forests and woodlands, but also in heathlands
Food: Nectar and pollen, fruits and seeds from umbrella trees
Predators: -
Status: Secure in NSW & QLD. Not Present in all other states and territories in Australia

The Scaly-breasted Lorikeet's beak and eyes are red, and it is the only lorikeet with an all-green head combined with a red beak. Sexes appear the same, with green upper-wings and body, marked with yellow 'scales' on the breast and neck. In flight, Scaly-breasted Lorikeets have two-tone, red-orange underwings with grey trailing edges.

The Scaly-breasted Lorikeet is similar in size and shape to the Rainbow Lorikeet but can be distinguished by its all-green head and body.

The Scaly-breasted Lorikeet occurs across coastal regions of eastern Australia from the tip of Cape York in Queensland, through to Wollongong in New South Wales.

The Scaly-breasted Lorikeet lives in lowland eucalypt forests and woodlands but also occurs in heathlands and well-treed urban areas, including parks and gardens.

Appears to be sedentary, although numbers in any particular area often fluctuate in response to seasonal flowering of eucalypts.

Scaly-breasted Lorikeets feed in flocks, sometimes joining flocks of Rainbow Lorikeets. They feed on nectar and pollen that they harvest with their brush-tongues, mostly from eucalypts, but also from shrubs such as melaleucas, callistemons and banksias. They also forage from a range of garden plants, including nectar, pollen, fruits and seeds from umbrella trees.

Scaly-breasted Lorikeet females lay their eggs on a bed of decayed wood in a hollow limb, or where a branch has broken from the trunk of a eucalypt tree, at a height of between 3 m and 25 m above the ground. Both the male and female modify the nest hollow by chewing off pieces of wood, and this can take six weeks. Only the female incubates the eggs, but the male feeds her on the nest. Both sexes feed the young.

Scaly-breasted Lorikeets are sometimes found in urban parks and gardens, particularly those with flowering eucalypts and umbrella trees. There is anecdotal evidence that they are declining in Sydney due to competition with Rainbow Lorikeets, which have increased in abundance, possible because of the provision of artificial food.

Author: Rosalyn Plunkett
Last Updated: Thursday 9th January, 2014
BirdLife Australia -


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