A lory is a brightly colored member of the parrot family that lives in Australia, Indonesia and the islands of the South Pacific. They live among the trees in lowland and mountain forests. These chatty birds typically travel in large flocks while looking for food. Their brushlike tongues help them gather and eat pollen and nectar from flowers. Lories aren’t endangered, although some are captured for the pet trade or killed for their feathers.
Each of the 18 species of lories has its own pattern of plumage, which is mainly red. Their short and rounded or square tails, heads, undersides and wings have purple, green or yellow feathers. Lories are often confused with lorikeets, although the latter have long, pointed tails and are mostly green.
With a body length that ranges from 6 inches to 15 inches (15 cm to 38 cm), the lory is considered a medium-sized parrot. They generally weigh between 0.7 ounce and 10 ounces (20 g to 283 grams). The females and males of each species are roughly the same size.
Lories live in forests, mangroves and plantations throughout southern Indonesia, Australia, New Guinea and the islands of the South Pacific. They roost high above the ground in tree hollows. The trees provide food as well as shelter for these birds.
Flowers, nectar, pollen and insects are the main sources of nourishment for the lory. Their tongues have long filaments on the end that help them roll together clumps of pollen and collect nectar. Their diet also includes fruit pulp and seeds.
Although lories are highly social birds, they typically only have one mate throughout their lives. Breeding takes place at various times during the year. Females lay two white eggs in a nest hidden by rotted wood.
The eggs hatch following an incubation period of about 25 days. The chicks begin growing feathers when they’re about 3 weeks old. Both parents help take care of their young until they learn to fly, which happens around 7 weeks of age.
No lory species has been listed as endangered as of 2010, but they do face increasing threats from humans. Logging has destroyed parts of their habitat. Some farmers have resorted to shooting lories, because they can do considerable damage to orchards and crops. They’re also caught and sold as pets or hunted for their bright plumage. The typical lifespan of a lory in the wild is between seven years and 10 years, while those that are kept in captivity generally live to be 15 years old.