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Lories and Lorikeets - General

By Rick Axelson, DVM

Care & Wellness, Pet Services

General Characteristics

There are approximately 50 species of Lories and Lorikeets (subfamily Loriidae) distributed widely throughout southeastern Asia, Papua New Guinea, Australia and Polynesia. These birds come in a delightful assortment of sizes and brilliant, glossy colors.

"These intelligent birds are not known for their talking but make up for it with their extraordinary personalities and inquisitive natures."

lories__lorikeets-1These intelligent birds are not known for their talking but make up for it with their extraordinary personalities and inquisitive natures. They can be fun loving, loud, cocky, comical, obnoxious trouble making clowns all in the same day. These high-strung, mischievously playful birds are well adjusted to captivity and make charming pets. They are highly entertaining and affectionate as well. They spend a lot of their day hopping, jumping, hanging upside down, playing and exploring. They need a spacious cage or large play area with various hanging and "grabbing" pet safe toys to accommodate their needs. These birds are easily bored. The disadvantages of Lories and Lorikeets as household pets are: they consume special liquid or high moisture diets, are messy eaters and have rather liquid, often projectile droppings. Bathing is one of their favorite daily occupations. They are reasonably high maintenance pets. These birds are not good around other species, as they have been known to gang up and kill them.

Purchasing a Lory or Lorikeet

Lories or Lorikeets may be purchased from a pet store or a reputable breeder. When selecting a Lory or Lorikeet, try to choose a young bird as it may be easier to tame and train. Older, wild, colony or parent raised birds may prove challenging to tame. Hand raised babies often make better pets since they have been completely socialized with humans. Young birds are easier to tame and adapt readily to new environments and situations. Your new bird should be exposed early to different events (young and old people, males and females, other pets, car trips, visits to the veterinarian, etc.) to help promote a calm, well adjusted pet. The lively, alert bird that is not easily frightened is more likely a healthy bird. After purchasing your new bird, have it examined by your veterinarian.

Veterinary Care

Lories or Lorikeets require regular, routine veterinary health check ups. Your veterinarian can perform a physical examination, grooming (beak, nail or feather trim as necessary) and laboratory tests as needed. During these semi-annual check ups, health, nutritional and maintenance issues can be identified and addressed. Veterinary check ups help prevent disease and will aid in the maintenance of a long lasting, healthy relationship between you and your bird.



  • Basic body color is green or red with combinations of orange, blue, black, yellow and red


  • Similar to adults



  • Generally difficult, there are few external differences
  • Some species have color differences


  • Same as the adult

Weight Average 35 - 200 grams (1.1 - 6.4 ounces)

Size Average 5 - 17 inches (13 - 42) in length

Life span 10 - 15 years

Diet See Feeding Lories and Lorikeets

Breeding Some species are being bred in captivity

Brood Size 1- 4 eggs (most lay 2 egg) will hatch in 22 - 25 days, leaving the nest between 60 - 90 days

Cage Minimum 2 ft x 3 ft x 3 ft long (60 cm x 90 cm x 90 cm)

Also see our handout on Housing Small Birds

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