Canadian Parrot Symposium

Canadian Parrot Symposium



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Keeping Lories

Jos Hubers

Lories are among the most colourful of all parrots. They are found mainly in Indonesia, the Philippines, Australasia, Papua New Guinea, and neighbouring islands as well as some Pacific islands. Many species are loved by the local population; an example is the Purple Capped Lory, Lorius domicellus, kept by the Ambonese as house pets. Despite their beautiful colours, lories are relatively seldom kept by those in aviculture. The reason for this is well known; their basic feed is liquid, which results in liquid faeces which can be sprayed over a relatively large area. Fortunately, it has been proven that with the right accommodation, these unique birds can be easily and well maintained.

Breeders who change over from seed-eating birds to lories make a common mistake of failing to adapt their accommodation, with resulting problems. Their accommodation must be totally adapted, i.e., everything must be totally washable. When the climate during the entire year is favourable, the birds may be permanently kept outside in hanging cages. However, in many countries they can only be kept if a suitable indoor space is available. This space must constantly be kept clean, which means it should ideally be tiled. The cages should be made of synthetic material or mesh, perhaps combined with aluminium or steel. Wood is not to be recommended. Several materials are suggested as a floor covering. In outside aviaries, grass or brick could be used. In large, covered aviaries, sand is sometimes used; in smaller aviaries and cages, wood shavings. If all cages are sprayed clean every day, good ventilation is necessary to prevent too much humidity.

As far as feed is concerned, this has changed greatly in the past few years. Many breeders use a pre-mixed food. Note that same pre-mixed food is not always suitable for all lory species. The diet of a Whiskered Lorikeet, Oreopsittacus arfaki, is different from that of a Green Naped Lorikeet, Trichoglossus haematodus haematodus. Not all suppliers of food are knowledgable, and quite often it appears that the food is formulated by guesswork. Figures regarding percentage compositions do not necessarily mean anything. Breeders should also know if components are capable of being absorbed, especially where proteins are concerned. Once a breeder has formulated his own feeding regime and has had positive results, the formula need not be changed. One reason to change to commercially available feed is when there are time constraints. Commercial feed usually demands less time than that which is prepared at home.

Lories are as susceptible to diseases as any other living being. A lory can fall ill for any number of reasons. One of the most common problems is that of Candida, flagellates and bacterial infections such as E. coli and Salmonella. Polyoma virus is proving to be an important viral infection within this group.

Rapid intervention is very important. A quarantine or hospital cage is a must. If a microscope is available, some techniques are easily learned, e.g. crop smears. Candida and flagellate infections can be identified from these smears. Preventative measures can really only be taken against flagellates since resistance is not built up to medications used against this disease organism. In Europe and South Africa the medication used is Ronidazol (trade name "Roniplus" for example). Resistance can occur when too little of the medicine is given.

Species in European Aviculture

There are approximately 120 known species and subspecies of lories. As previously mentioned, they are scattered over an enormous area. Of all the species, several are kept in aviaries, some of them common, others not so common. Of the Chalcopsitta species, the Yellow Streaked Lory, Chalcopsitta scintillata, was the most commonly kept species. It appears that it is now becoming overshadowed by the recently much imported Cardinal Lory, C. cardinalis, which is also proving to be very prolific. All the species of this genus are strong birds, although they do not breed very quickly. The Duivenbode Lory, C. duivenbodei, remains the most difficult species to breed.

Of the genus Pseudeos, there is only one species although it appears in a range of colour forms. The Dusky Lory, Pseudeos fuscata, is known basically in two colour variants, the yellow and the orange/red variant. It is a hardy and easily bred species.

Closely related genera are the red lories or the Eos species. Of these most are known in captivity and kept in Europe. The most familiar is the Moluccan Red Lory, Eos bornea bornea, the least familiar being the Blue Eared Lory, E. semilarvata. Generally, they are lories which are easily bred. Recently, the endangered Red and Blue Lory, Eos histrio taluensis, has been successfully bred in Europe.

The species with the most character belong to the genus Lorius. Most of these have been bred quite successfully and certainly, with the recently imported Yellow Bibbed Lory, L.chlorocercus, good results have been obtained. In South Africa as in Europe the Chattering Lory, L.garrulus, is the most frequently kept species.

The largest genus is Trichoglossus. Those which are kept are usually relatively easily bred. The best known are perhaps the Green Naped Lory, Trichoglossus haematodus haematodus, the Swainson's Lory, T.h.moluccanus, and the Goldies Lorikeet, T.goldiei. This last species is sometimes placed in the genus Psitteuteles, though since this has not been officially acknowledged I am not going to use this name. Several species are virtually unknown, of which the Ponape Lory, T.rubigtinosus, is the least known.

The genus Charmosyna includes the Stella or Papuan Lory, Charmosyna papou and the Red Flanked Lorikeet, C.placentis which are the most commonly kept species. Both are regularly and successfully bred. Less commonly kept are the Fairy Lorikeets, C.pulchella, Josephine's Lory, C.p.josefinae and Red Spotted Lorikeets, C.rubronotata. Striated Lorikeets, C.multistriata, are seen only very seldomly.

The other genera such as Phygis, Glossopsitta, Vini, Oreopsittacus and Neopsittacus are represented by a limited number of species and then in only certain countries. Three species of Glossopsitta are known, mainly only in Australia: the Purple Crowned Lory, Glossopsitta porphyrocephala; the Little Lorikeet, G.pusillus; and the Musk Lorikeet, G.concinna. The latter is bred successfully outside of Australia.

There is only one species of Phygis known, the Solitary Lory, Phygis solitarius, which is only seldomly bred. The latter is also true for Vini species. Only the Blue Crowned Lorikeet, Vini australis, is bred successfully by several breeders. The genus Oreopsittacus has only one species, the Whiskered Lorikeet, Oreopsittacus arfaki which has three subspecies. The subspecies O.a.major is bred successfully, especially in Europe.

The genus Neopsittacus has two species, each with three subspecies which are known. Both species are bred, but not frequently. The Emerald Lorikeet, Neopsittacus pullicauda alpinus, has recently been bred successfully, in particular in the Netherlands and Germany. The Musschenbroek's Lorikeet, N.musschenbroekii, is kept and bred in much larger numbers than the previous species.

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