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The Wanderer Down Under

The colorful purple-crowned lorikeet adapts to arid lands

By Joseph M. Forshaw

We normally associate lorikeets with tropical forests, where there is an abundance of flowering and fruiting trees, or with flowering coconut palms along golden beaches on tropical islands in the south Pacific Ocean— and for most species these associations are valid. However, the Glossopsitta lorikeets from southern Australia, the most southerly distributed of all lorikeets, inhabit a wide variety of temperate forests and woodlands. They have adapted well to man-made habitats and commonly congregate in towns to feed or even nest in parks or gardens and ornamental street trees. One species, the purple-crowned lorikeet (Glossopsitta porphyrocephala), penetrates well into the inland arid zone, where it frequents mallee woodland, a distinctive vegetation community on red, sandy soils dominated by low, multi-stemmed eucalyptus and trees bordering ephemeral watercourses.

Although it has a broad habitat tolerance, occurring in most types of timbered country wherever there are flowering or fruiting trees and shrubs, the purple-crowned lorikeet is essentially a bird of inland habitats. In fact, it is the only lorikeet widespread in dry mallee lands and the only lorikeet native to southwestern Australia, where the introduced rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) is now rapidly spreading out from the Perth metropolitan area.

**For the full article, pick up the June issue of BIRD TALK**

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