Family Parrots (Psittacidae)

Least Concern

Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus)


French: Loriquet arc-en-ciel German: Regenbogenlori Spanish: Lori arcoiris
Other common names: Blue Mountain Lorikeet (moluccanus)

Psittacus moluccanus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

Moluccas; error = Botany Bay, New South Wales


With one exception#R, present species has hitherto been treated as a group of subspecies within the widespread Rainbow Lorikeet T. haematodus complex, but differs from T. haematodus by its unbarred and paler red breast (3); blue vs green or blackish belly (3); paler blue hood with no black edge (2); larger size (at least 1); and from other species in complex by characters given under those species. Proposed race eyrei (from South Australia) is included within nominate. Small hybrid population of present species × Glossopsitta concinna in SE South Australia (Yorke Peninsula). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. m. septentrionalis Robinson, 1900 – N Queensland (Cape York Peninsula), in NE Australia; also Torres Strait islands (except Boigu and Saibai, in extreme N).
  • T. m. moluccanus (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – NE, E & SE Australia (from NE Queensland to SE South Australia, including Kangaroo I); vagrant in Tasmania. Feral population in Perth (Western Australia).
  • Descriptive notes

    25–30 cm; 70–169 g; wingspan 46 cm. Bill orange to red; head blue to deep brown lightly flecked pale violet; nuchal collar yellow; rest of upperparts and tail green, latter... read more


    No known differences between this species and T. haematodus.


    Most types of lowland and lower montane wooded country, including primary rain forest, secondary... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nectar and pollen from native trees and shrubs, particularly Eucalyptus (e.g. E. gummifera, E. maculata, E.... read more


    Season Aug–Jan in SE Australia, may be almost year-round in Queensland. Monogamous. Nest in deep unlined hole in limb or trunk of large... read more


    Considered to be nomadic, presence or absence, or at least quantities, being governed by flowering... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Abundant in NE Australia (though recent decline registered on Cape York Peninsula), becoming less plentiful in SE and although once common... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 14 December 2019).