Black-capped lories have been popular pet bird and aviary birds for quite some time, certainly since the early 1980s here in the United States. There are seven subspecies of black-capped lories, but only three are very well known in aviculture. This is a big problem for aviculturists who try to breed birds pure to their species or subspecies, many of the black-capped lory subspecies have been hybridized.
The seven subspecies can be divided into two groups by viewing the under-wing coverts. Those with dark blue, nearly black, under-wing coverts are: jobiensis, salvadori, viridicrissalis and cyanuchen. The other three subspecies have red under-wing coverts and include lory, erythrorax and somu.
Subspecies Of Black-Capped Lories
One of the three black-capped lory subspecies commonly found in the U.S. is the nominate race, Lorius lory lory, which has the blue neck band that extends clear around the neck, joining the blue back with the blue of the breast and belly. It has red under-wing coverts. This may be the most common subspecies of black-capped lories.
Next, we have L. l. erythrorax, a bit smaller than Lorius lory lory, and different in that the blue neck band does not connect with the blue of the back or with the blue of the belly. The breast is red, and the back has only a narrow blue band above the red feathering of the lower back and rump. This lory has blue under-wing coverts.
Lastly, we have L. l. salvadori, which also has blue under-wing coverts. The blue is a deeper, darker blue than the other subspecies, and the hind neck collar does not attach to any blue on the breast. However, the blue of the back connects to the blue abdomen at the shoulder. This information is from Volume 1995, No. 4 of Lory Journal International.
If you are interesting in the numerous hybrid identifications, locate a copy of Jos Huber’s Lori Journal International, Volume 2002, No. 2.
Pet Black-Capped Lories
Why is the black-capped lory such a desirable lory? First of all, the contrast between the bright red and the bright blue makes for a beautiful lory. Secondly, it’s almost unsurpassed in its ability to mimic, both various sounds in the environment as well as the human voice. These lories are right up there in terms of talking ability with the best parrots.
The black-capped lory is a good-sized bird and very hardy as well, being about 12-inches long and weighing around 200 grams. As an outside aviary bird, the black-capped lory should have a large aviary with room to fly in order to get the exercise it requires. A household black-capped lory should be allowed ample time outside of its cage for the same reason.
Black-capped lories are not a good choice for an apartment dweller or for those with close neighbors, because they can be loud. They are not constant screamers like some parrots, such as the conures, but they do have the capability to vocally “raise the roof” on occasion.
Food For Black-Capped Lories
A good commercial dry diet or nectar (I personally don’t think pellets are appropriate for lories), along with fresh fruit and some veggies, like “wheels” of corn on the cob or a mix of chopped greens, carrots, cooked squash, some sprouts, etc., are ideal for a lory to food. Many lories will bathe every day, so a shallow dish of fresh water or a sink filled with an inch or so of water in it (which will help keep the splashes contained) is a must.
For a colorful parrot with great personality and the ability to speak very clearly, one would be hard pressed to find a better subject than a black-capped lory!