Locally we have four species of lorikeets. Musk Lorikeets are the most common, followed by Purple-crowned and Little Lorikeets in good numbers, with Rainbow Lorikeets making an occasional appearance. In recent months flocks of Musk Lorikeets have gathered in the flowering Yellow Gums around town, while the other species have been thin … in the air.
Purple-crowned Lorikeets Glossopsitta porphyrocephala are not common in town, preferring the surrounding woodlands, where they congregate in small flocks to feast on nectar. Like other lorikeets they are nomadic, shifting around the landscape in response to the nectar flow from blossoming eucalypts.
They have brush-tipped tongues, perfect for slurping eucalypt nectar. The birds pictured here were from a party of four, spotted yesterday feeding quietly in what I think might be a young Spotted Gum, thoughtfully planted next door. I watched them from close-up as clambered amongst the foliage – the birds remaining silent most of the time. Purple-crowned Lorikeets have a quite distinctive call, usually uttered in flight. It is described by Pizzey as a ‘ziit’ or ‘ziit ziit‘, mellower, longer and more buzzing than the Little Lorikeet, and less harsh than ‘Muskies’.
They are distinctively marked, the blue-purple crown, orange cheek spot and red underwing are very different in combination to all the other lorikeets.