Tahitian Lories / Lorikeets (Vini peruviana), also known as Violet Lorikeets, Blue Lories or Indigo Lories, are endemic to the French Polynesia and Cook Islands.
These lories were formerly found on 23 islands around Tahiti, but are now restricted to maybe eight islands, specifically: Motu, Manuae, Tikehau, Rangiroa, Aratua, Kaukura, Apataki, Aitutaki, and possibly Harvey Island and Manihi. Very few exist outside their natural range and this species is unknown in captivity.
Tahitian Lories depend on coconut palms for nesting and some of its food. They are usually found in small flocks of less than ten birds in palm groves, gardens as well as banana and coconut plantations.
These active birds are often observed feeding on nectar, insects and fruits and flowers on the ground. They are mostly detected by calls as they are difficult to see in the dense foliage. Their flight is swift and direct and their whirring wingbeats is usually accompanied by metallic sounding contact calls.
They are endangered in their natural habitat by invasive species, such as cats, introduced European Black Rats, Swamp Harriers, and mosquitoes carrying avian malaria.
The Tahitian Lory averages 18 cm (~7.1 inches) in length, including its short rounded tail.
Its plumage is mainly dark blue and it has a white area over its upper chest, throat and face. The erectile feathers (= capable of being raised to an upright position) on the top of its head show light blue streaks
The beak is orange, the irises are yellow-brown and the legs are orange.
Genders: Adult males and females look alike.
Juveniles lack the white plumage of the adult and has a dark grey-blue face and lower parts. The juvenile also has a black bill, dark brown irises, and its legs are orange brown.
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. Breeding in aviculture has been achieved several times.
Within their natural range, the breeding period stretches from May to August. They typically nest in tree cavities, rotten stumps of coconut palms or decayed coconuts still hanging from tree. They may also use abandoned nests of other birds. The average clutch consists of 2 eggs, which are incubated for about 21 to 25 days. The female usually starts incubating after laying the second egg. The young fledge about 9 weeks later. In captivity, the parents are often not properly caring for their young, and many must be hand-reared. The young are independent when they are about 13 weeks old.
These are extremely active and playful lories, but very challenging to maintain. They are susceptible and sudden mortality without discernible cause can occur.
Because of their fruit and nectar diet, which are easily contaminated and grow bacteria, it is ultimately important to maintain very strict hygiene in the aviary. Their diet should include a good quality lory feed of honey, pollen, brewer’s yeast, oat flakes, multi-grain flakes, vitamins and mineral supplements; regular vitamin C; softened rusk or biscuit; various soft fruit, particularly mango, banana, pear, pomegranate and grape; and occasionally small quantities of insects. Additional animal protein should be available in the breeding season. A regular supply of fresh branches with buds, flowers and leaves should be placed into the aviary regularly.
Genus: Scientific: Vini … English: Vini Lory … Dutch: Vinilori … German: Maidloris … French: Lori Vini
Species: Scientific: Vini peruviana … English: Tahitian Lory … Dutch: Safierlori, Tahiti Lori … German: Saphirlori, Tahiti Blaulori … French: Lori blanc et blue de Tahiti
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
- Special Challenges of Lories and Lorikeets: Training and Behavioral Guidance