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What Lories & Lorikeets Are Like As Pets

These birds have personalities as colorful as their feathers.

Susan Anderson

rainbow lorikeet
One of the most popular lorikeet species is the rainbow lory.

Lories and lorikeets are small- to medium-sized colorful parrots. While the terms "lory” and "lorikeet” can be interchangeable for the various lory/lorikeet species, typically lories have short, blunt tails, while lorikeets have long, tapering tails. Lories and lorikeets both make excellent pets, but require special handling. In this article, we will refer to all of them as lories. 

Lories are physiologically different from other parrots and in the wild they consume a diet of nectar, pollen, fruit, bugs and sprouts. Their brushlike tongue is perfectly suited to the gathering of nectar and pollen. Their gizzard is less muscular than that of other parrots, so they should not eat the type of hard, dry diet we feed our other parrots. Lories do not do well on regular parrots pellets — they need special lory pellets if you do plan to feed them pellets. You can also feed them commercial nectar. They also need fresh fruit every day, along with vegetables. They may prefer their fruits and veggies chopped or pureed. Lories also enjoy sprouts. Water is very important — make sure that your lory always has fresh water available. (Check with your avian veterinarian on the best diet for your lory.)

There are many available species of these colorful birds — the most popular pets are rainbow lorikeets and red lories. They all make good pets and are easy to tame. Lories love being around or on their people. They may get jealous when their people pay attention to other people or pets. They enjoy being handled, so petting them while you are engaging with others distracts them.

Many zoos have lory exhibits, with large enclosures where the birds are allowed to fly free among the visitors. Nectar is available, and a lory will happily sit on your hand and drink from a small cup of nectar.

Like all parrots, lories do best in a large cage. They use the entire cage, including top, bottom and sides. An ideal cage for a single lory should be roomy, at least 24 inches by 24 inches. Two feet tall is perfect. Lories love toys, and happily play with them for hours. They also enjoy swings.

Because of their liquid diet, lory droppings are very loose. Many people keep lories in a large aviary outside, to contain the mess. If you keep your lory inside, a plastic chair mat that you can buy in an office supply store can control the mess. You can also hang a shower curtain on the wall behind the cage. Lories are so entertaining that the mess is worth it.

Depending on the species, lories can live anywhere from 15 to 30 years.

Loved this article? Then check out these other articles on lories and lorikeets: 

All About Red Lories
Popular Pet Lories

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Posted: November 25, 2014, 4:45 p.m. PDT

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