The Dusky Lories (Pseudeos fuscata or Pseudeos fuscatais) are also known as Banded Lories or, simply, “Duskies”.
They occur naturally in New Guinea, where they are most common; as well as being found on the islands of Salawati and Japen in Indonesia, where they inhabit rain forests, deforested areas with some blossoming trees. On occasion, they visit savannas and coconut plantations.
Even though this species is considered endangered within their natural range, mostly due to habitat destruction; there is a high demand for these birds as pets or aviary birds, and they have been doing well in captivity and are, therefore, regionally readily available on the pet market.
Dusky Lories measure about 9.5 inches (24 cm) in length, including the long tail; and average 10.5 oz (300 g) in weight. They have the hooked beaks that are characteristic of parrots.
The Duskies have two color phases: orange and yellow.
A typical orange- phase bird has a mainly dark brown head and face, a bronze crown, and an area of bare, orange skin at the sides of the lower beak.
There is a bright orange collar at the upper chest, and a white or cream-colored rump. The upper chest is black barred bordered by another brilliant orange band, with a mixture of dark brown and fiery orange on the abdomen. The under-wings are orange, the wings are black-tipped with orange, and the tail is dark blue. There is orange skin near the lower mandible (bill).
In the less common yellow-phase bird, most of the orange markings are replaced with bright yellow.
The orange variant is more common and a pair of orange-phase parents can produce yellow offspring.
Males and females look alike and breeders depend on DNA or surgical sexing to determine their gender.
Other Relevant Websites:
Article (in English and German):
- Who is hatching now? Juveniles of the Dusky Lory in Weltvogelpark Walsrode
- Wer schlüpft denn da? Nachwuchs bei den Weißbürzelloris im Weltvogelpark Walsrode
Lories as Pets or in Aviculture:
Maybe the most playful of the lories, excellent pets and great talkers. The only drawback is their terrible, high pitched screeching! They would never work in an apartment. (Description by Dick Schroeder – Owner of Cuttlebone Plus and Expert Breeder / Keeper of Lories).
Provided they don’t fall victims to an accident or neglect, they can live 28 to 32 years. One of the major contributors of ill health and early death in pet birds is the fact that their specific dietary needs are neglected.
Contrary to other parrots that mostly feed on seeds and nuts; lories require a higher percentage of fruit, buds, nectar and pollen in their diet. In fact, in the wild, they can feed on as many as 640 flowers in one day. They also feed on seeds and unripe grain.
They reach reproductive maturity when they are about 2 to 2.5 years old.
Lories are typically quite easily bred, so many lory species are readily available. The average clutch consists of 2 – 3 eggs, which are incubated for 24 – 25 days. The young fledge when they are about 10 weeks old.
- Average Price: Prices around $350 for either color.
Positive aspects of lory ownership …
Lories are popular companion birds due to their intelligence, entertaining personality and stunning beauty. Most stay tame, even in maturity.
They are affectionate, curious, extroverted and clowny and exhibit some unique behaviors. Some like to wrap themselves up in a blanket for sleeping. At times, they can even be seen sleeping on their backs.
They are known for their playfulness. In their eyes, everything is a toy. They love toys that make noise, such as bells. They enjoy hanging on ropes and are quite “mechanical.” They like “toys” that can be taken apart — and they are GOOD at it! Lories are very active and require large cages (preferably flights) and lots of supervised out-of-cage time.
What makes them challenging to own …
They are capable of aggressive behavior if their territory and possessions are not respected. Housing two lories together can result in injury, unless they are a bonded pair.
They are demanding in care requirements (especially diet preparations) and require a lot of attention. Daily baths or showers should be part of their grooming regimen.
Due to their diet which consists for the most part of fruits and nectar, their droppings are very runny and messy. Special adaptations around the cage are recommended. Carpet underneath a cage will be the poorest choice of all. Everything in the vicinity of the cage should be easy to clean. This being said, lories are very trainable and, with a little patience and know-how, can be taught to eliminate in a certain area on cue. This webpage will provide you with instructions.
Their voice ranges from loud, piercing whistles and metallic “pings” to soft, high-pitched warbles and chattering.
Caring for your Lory:
The bulk of their natural diet consist of nectar, flowers, fruits, pollen and seeds.
Part of their captive diet should be a good-quality commercial or home-made nectar. Please note that liquid nectar will need to be replaced several times daily – in fact, in warm weather it needs to be changed every 4 hours. The main causes of premature death in lories are infections caused by spoiled nectar and/or a poorly balanced, one-sided diet that doesn’t meet the special nutritional requirements needed for good health. Excellent commercial formulas are available on this website.
Lories also love honey, pollen and fruits, such as apples, pomegranates, papaya, grapes, cantaloupe, pineapple, figs, kiwi, as well as greenfood and some vegetables, including corn-on-the-cob. Another healthful addition to their diet are flowers, including pansies, nasturtiums, roses, hibiscus, marigolds, and dandelions. All fruits, veggies and flowers should be pesticide free. Organic is always best. (For non-toxic ways to control pests in the house or garden, please visit this webpage.)
During the breeding season, rusk or biscuit softened in milk are eagerly accepted by the parents for feeding the chicks.
Other food items include brewer’s yeast, oat flakes, multi-grain flakes and small quantities of millet spray; oats, canary grass seed; some sunflower (sprouted). If a balanced nutrition can’t be met, vitamin and mineral supplements may need to be provided.
Lories are very active birds and require large cages. The minimum cage size for a single lory should be 36″ H x 48″ L x 24″ W or to accommodate a pair the cage dimensions needs to be, at a minimum, 36″ H x 60″ L x 36″ W. You have to remember that you need room for the many toys that lories so cherish, perches, food / water dishes, maybe a “birdy tent” — as well as providing sufficient space for them to move around, exercise their wings. etc.
Care should be taken in cage design and placement since the birds have a tendency to squirt their waste matter, which is fairly liquid, behind them with some force. It is not recommended to place the cage behind a delicately decorated wall and on unprotected carpet. Easy-care flooring is recommended, as well as a washable wall. An acrylic panel custom-cut and placed over the wall would be a great way to protect it. The acrylic panel can easily be taken outside and hosed down. There are acrylic cages available, but lories love to climb and scramble about, so a standard, high quality powder coated cage is a better choice – as large as the space you have will allow.
In an outdoor aviary they are the easiest birds to maintain, as all of their waste can simply be hosed away, no seed hulls to sweep up or sticky, green and white droppings running down the side of the cage to scrub off. Lory droppings are mostly clear or beige. A word of caution about placing lories in mixed-species aviaries. Some lories can be very aggressive toward other birds, while others will mingle just fine. The worst is probably the Chattering Lory. They seem to take great pleasure in doing in other birds in their territory.
Special Challenges of Lories and Lorikeets: Training and Behavioral Guidance
Other Relevant Web Resources
- Photos of the Different Lory Species for Identification … Listing of Species
- Distribution Maps of Lories and Lorikeets
- Lories and Lorikeets in Aviculture
- Feeding and Housing Your Lories and Lorikeets
- Diseases of Lories / Lorikeets and Health Care Program
Family: Loriidae … Genus: Scientific: Pseudeos …English: White-backed Lory … Dutch: Witstuitlori …German: Weißbürzelloris … French: Lori à dos blancs
Species: Scientific: Pseudeos fuscata … English: Dusky Lory … Dutch: Witruglori, Witstuitlori, Tweekleurenlori … German: Weißbürzellori … French: Lori à dos blanc
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Dusky Lories: Juveniles in the Weltvogelpark Walsrode
Parrots (Psittacidae) are one of two families within the order Psittaciformes, the other being the cockatoos (Cacatuidae).
Lories belong to small to medium-sized parrots which mostly have an extremely colourful plumage. This group of parrots is especially known for their special diet: they mainly feed on nectar and pollen of flowers. To easily harvest the nectar their elongated tongue carries small erectile papillae on the tip which get soaked with nectar.
Back in the bill the tongue is squeezed out at the roof of the mouth. Additionally to the nectar, lories also feed on soft, juicy fruits and some seeds.
Distribution / Range
The Dusky Lory (Pseudeos fuscata) is distributed on New Guinea in Indonesia as well as on Papua New Guinea and the surrounding islands Yapen and Salawati. There it inhabits hill rain forests up to 2400 m, but can also be seen in suburban parks and even occasionally in savannas and plantations. This species is highly gregarious and sometimes forms roosts of several thousand birds. Like the other species of lories they mainly feed on nectar but also take pollen, coconut blossoms and fruits like mango.
Breeding in the Wild
In the wild, the offspring of the Dusky Lory are reared in hollows of tall montane trees. Normally, two white eggs are laid between november and april, which are incubated for 24 days. After hatching, the nestling period is about 70 days before the young fledge.
On the Red List of Threatened Species this lory is considered as “least concern”. In Germany the Dusky Lory only can be found in a few zoological institutions and can be distinguished from many other extremely colourful species by its reddish-brown coloured feathers.
The creamy to white coloured lower back and rump, which gave the species its name in the German-speaking part, is covered by the wings most of the time and can only be seen by patient visitors while the bird is flying or during courtship.
Captive Breeding at the Weltvogelpark Walsrode
Weltvogelpark Walsrode houses a breeding pair of this lory species on show in an enclosure of the “Lori Atrium”. The breeding pair is extremely territorial and often vigorously flap their wings, whereat the white rump mentioned above can be seen. The nest box is vehemently defended against intruders. Regularly, the female lays two eggs in its nesting box. Although the eggs have a high fertility rate, the parents did not manage to rear the young by themselves so far – either the juveniles vanished shortly after hatching or they were found dead in or outside the nesting box.
Therefore, it was decided in 2011 to rear young of this species by hand. In total three chicks of the Dusky Lory were reared by hand during last summer.
The first two young which hatched at the end of May in the nesting box of the parents were taken to the hand rearing section at the age of approximately two days. As in all lory species the young are very small, the pink-coloured skin is covered with white fluffy down feathers and their eyes are still closed. Directly after taking the young away from their nest box they were placed in heated rearing boxes and during the first six days were kept at a temperature of 37,1 °C and an air humidity of 65 %. Both chicks still had food remains from the first feedings of their parents in their crop, so that during the first hours in the hand rearing section only fluids (Ringer’s solution) and lactobacilli were given to the young. At arrival the small lories weighed just about 5 g.
During the first days the juveniles were fed 5 to 6 times per day with a 1 : 1 mixture of a powder especially developed for lories as well as the powder “A19 High Energy” to rear parrots. Additionally, lactobacilli and dextrose were added to the mush.
Within one week the chicks increased in weight from 5 to 14,5 g. The number of feedings was adapted to 4 – 5 times per day, depending on how fast the young digested the food. From the 6th day onwards the temperature of the rearing box was set to 36,9 °C and in the following days the temperature was slightly reduced step by step by 0,1 °C. Thereby the condition of the young was always controlled by the experienced animal keepers in order to be able to adapt the temperature to the well-being of the juveniles.
Given that the juveniles were developing very well and steadily increased in weight, they were fed three times a day from mid-June onwards. At that stage, the feeding mixture was mixed 2 : 1 from lory powder and A19 High Energy. At the age of three weeks the young lories already weighed around 50 g and, additionally to the daily feedings, already fed by themselves from a feeding dish in their rearing cage. After six weeks they had a weight of around 110 g and after around 70 days the young fledged.
The next clutch of the breeding pair was taken away from the nesting box already after a short incubation phase and was transferred to an incubator. The eggs were subsequently incubated at a temperature of 37,2 °C and an air humidity of 55 %. One juvenile successfully hatched, the other egg was not fertilised. The newly hatched chick was fed for the first time during the first 24 hours to make sure that the small young directly got enough energy to start its life. Following the success of hand rearing the first young, there were no problems in the course of the growing up of this juvenile.
By now all young are already fledged and feeding by themselves for a long time, so that they are housed in the enclosures of the Lori-Atrium besides their parents and other lory species.
In 2012 – the fifty year anniversary of Weltvogelpark Walsrode – we now are looking forward to several more juveniles during the breeding season!
- del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds (1997). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 4. Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
- BirdLife International 2009. Pseudeos fuscata. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 15 December 2011