Swainson’s Blue Mountain, Swainson’s Blue Mt. Lorikeet

The Swainson’s Lory (Trichoglossus haematodus moluccanus) is endemic to Torres Strait, Eastern and South Australia. This lory is endangered in its natural habitat (Cites II), although they are relatively common within their native range, habitat loss is taking a toll on this species.

They are fairly scarce in the United States due to export restrictions; and they have not been exported out of Australia in 30 years. A few entered the country several years ago as captive raised from New Zealand.

Lories and Lorikeets: Overview (Naming, Range and Description)

Swainson's Lory


This lory is often referred to as the prettiest of the “rainbows“. They have a beautiful bright violet-blue head, with even brighter blue shaft-streaking. The breast is a mixture of red and yellow, giving an overall orange appearance. There is no barring. The blue of the abdomen matches the blue of the head. They are said to be less noisy than other lories, although their voices can get shrill.

For the right owners they make excellent pets and they are good talkers. (Description by Dick Schroeder – Owner of Cuttlebone Plus and Expert Breeder / Keeper of Lories).

  • Average Price: $350 – $450

Lories as Pets or in Aviculture:

Due to their endangered status, any suitable specimen that cannot be released back into their natural habitat (native range) should preferably be placed into a well-managed breeding program to ensure the continued survival of this species.

If you are considering a Swainson’s Lory for your aviary or as pet, please consider the following …

Lories are typically quite easily bred, so many lory species are readily available. Their expected lifespan is 28+ years, provided their specific dietary needs are met. They reach maturity at 8 months or later. Males and females look alike and breeders depend on DNA or endoscopic sexing to determine their gender.

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 andsmall 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.

Other Relevant Web Resources


Family: Loriidae … Genus: Scientific: Trichoglossus … English: Wedge-tailed Lorikeet … Dutch: Wigstaartlori … German: Keilschwanzloris … French: Loriquet

Species: Scientific: Trichoglossus haematodus moluccanus … English: Blue Mountain Lorikeet, Swainson’s Lorikeet … Dutch: Lori van de blauwe bergen, Molukse Lori … German: Gebirgslori, Lori von den Blauen Bergen … French: Loriquet desmont bleu … CITES II – Endangered Species

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