I spent Christmas at Coral World on the island of St. Thomas (in the US Virgin Islands) last year and wanted to share the experience here. The big draw for me to go there was that I heard they had birds. I didn't know what kind they had, but I was looking forward to meeting them. I normally travel with my flock and to have two weeks to myself was almost... unbearable. I really missed my "fids" (feathered kids) back home.
Well, they had an entire aviary dedicated to USVI-born lorikeets. The aviary was great with tons of misters going and lots of trees and waterfalls. The lorikeets were happy as ever as I could tell, flying about and dive bombing the people who came in their territory (such as myself). They were vocal and spunky and I could hear them from anywhere in the park.
I've been pretty used to parrots like cockatoos and macaws and have never really had any experience with lorikeets. So, I decided to find out more about them. At the park you could purchase little cups of nectar to feed them and they would eagerly fly to you and lap up the nectar from the cup (of course, I had to buy two).
Photo by David Location: Coral World, St. Thomas, USVI Shown: A Flock of Lorikeets
The main thing that interested me was their diet. I asked the lady there but she didn't seem to know much. She said they fed them lots of fruit and nectar (their nectar was watered down fruit juice but in the wild it would come from flowers like blossoms) along with a pelleted diet. I was curious about the diet difference for them as well, but all she could tell me was, "They smell like fruit loops!"
When I got home was when I did a majority of the research. I was surprised about how alike lorikeets are with toucans. Their droppings for one! With all the fruit in their diet and tons of nectar, their droppings are very much like that of a toucan. I also found out they do best on a very low iron diet, just like a toucan does. I didn't get any video of the lorikeets drinking the nectar from my cup but if I did, it would look something like this:
As I was feeding these gorgeous birds, a red flash caught my eye and I looked up. The ladie's eyes watched mine and she said, "We have one hybrid here. He is mostly red." Now I was really looking for him, curious as to what a hybrid lorikeet would look like. He was very cool looking but seemed to always be solo. I wondered if the others were outcasting him a little. The lady working in the aviary told me he came from their breeder and that it didn't happen in their park. He sure was a sight to look at, nonetheless where he came from. Nor did he seem to care what the other lorikeets thought of him. He knew he was one good looking bird!
Photo by David Location: Coral World, St. Thomas, USVI Pictured: Hybrid Lorikeet
More photos of hybrid lorikeet parrots.
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.