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What is a Lory?

A. Delgado
A. Delgado

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.

Lories are brightly colored members of the parrot family.
Lories are brightly colored members of the parrot family.

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.

Lories live in Australia, Indonesia, and other islands of the South Pacific.
Lories live in Australia, Indonesia, and other islands of the South Pacific.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a lory and how does it differ from other parrots?

Lories are a group of small to medium-sized arboreal parrots known for their vibrant plumage and brush-tipped tongues, adapted for feeding on nectar and soft fruits. Unlike other parrots, lories have a more specialized diet and are known for their playful personalities and high energy levels, making them unique within the parrot family.

Where can lories be found in the wild?

Lories are native to the Australasian region, including the northeastern parts of Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific Islands. They inhabit a range of environments from tropical rainforests to coastal forests, showcasing their adaptability. Their presence in these ecosystems is vital for pollination and seed dispersal.

What do lories typically eat?

Lories have a specialized diet primarily consisting of nectar, pollen, and fruit. Their unique brush-tipped tongues are perfectly adapted for extracting nectar from flowers. In captivity, their diet is often supplemented with a lory-specific nectar substitute to ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients for their health and well-being.

Are lories endangered?

The conservation status of lories varies among species. Some lory species are considered vulnerable or endangered due to habitat loss, trapping for the pet trade, and other human activities. Conservation efforts are crucial to protect these birds, with organizations working to preserve their habitats and regulate trade practices.

How do lories behave in their natural habitat?

In their natural habitat, lories are known for their sociable and gregarious behavior. They often gather in flocks and are active during the day, engaging in activities like foraging, bathing, and social interactions. Their acrobatic flight patterns and loud calls are a testament to their dynamic nature within the forest canopy.

Can lories be kept as pets, and what are their care requirements?

Lories can be kept as pets, but they require dedicated care due to their specialized diet and need for social interaction. Prospective owners should provide a spacious cage, a diet rich in nectar and fruit, and plenty of enrichment activities. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to monitor their health, given their unique dietary needs.

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    • Lories are brightly colored members of the parrot family.
      Lories are brightly colored members of the parrot family.
    • Lories live in Australia, Indonesia, and other islands of the South Pacific.
      By: lesniewski
      Lories live in Australia, Indonesia, and other islands of the South Pacific.