Little Lorikeet (Glossopsitta pusilla) breeding and keeping. PART II

June 27th, 2016 | by Bill Boyd
Little Lorikeet (Glossopsitta pusilla) breeding and keeping. PART II

Read also the first part of this article:

Little Lorikeet (Glossopsitta pusilla) breeding and keeping. PART I



There are as many variations to the basic lorikeet diet as there are birds so I will give a description of what I use only, which has been very successful. The amount of mixture can be adjusted to feed more birds or fewer birds if necessary.


Dry mix:

14 pkts Farex Original Baby Cereal.

4 kg raw sugar

1kg skim milk powder

2 tablespoons Ornithon multi-vitamin powder

Mix this thoroughly and store in 20 litre plastic buckets or similar.



(c) Bill Boyd


Wet mix:

1 cup of the above mix

1 apple-diced

2 weetbix biscuits

1 tablespoon honey

Place in blender and fill with water-blend at high speed until well mixed. This mix is then poured in to small baby food jars hung on the cage wire using wire hooks. Only about 50mm in each jar per pair per day is needed and the above amount will feed 30 pairs approximately.



I feed green food in the form of spinach (silver beet) at least twice per week at the rate of half a leaf per pair. Here in Australia I also have access to bottlebrush blossoms (callistemons) and these are also much appreciated.

Apples and pears seem to be the preferred fruit and are again fed at least twice per week.

When chicks are in the nest I feed plain Madeira cake in the form of one slice cut into 3 fingers and one finger to each pair every second day.

The wet mix also contains a little calcium syrup when chicks are being fed.

Green seeding grasses are also fed when available.


Lories LorikeetsNeophema Neopsephotus softMacaws


Breeding season and nesting

Little Lorikeets will breed when only one year old and are usually successful if the pairs are compatible. Their breeding season commences as early as June and usually runs through until December and most pairs will rear at least two clutches during this period. The usual clutch size is four but I have had clutches of five on rare occasions.

Nest boxes can be hung either vertically or horizontally and should be approximately 120-150mm square by about 300mm deep or long. For a vertically hung box a 40mm hole is cut in the front of the box about 60mm down from the lid and for a horizontally mounted box a 40mm hole is cut in the side again about 60mm back from the end and 60mm down from the top. I sometimes use a small natural hollow tree spout but this is not compulsory. Inside the box a wire ladder is attached to the front wall of vertical boxes and to the floor of horizontal boxes. Make sure that there are no protruding wires that could harm a bird or worse, hook a leg ring which in one case with my birds was fatal. For nesting material I use hardwood sawdust of the coarse type found when trees are cut with a chain saw. If sawdust is obtained from a sawmill or timber yard be sure it is hardwood dust and does not have treated pine dust mixed in.

Incubation lasts about 20-21 days and only the female broods although the male may spend some time in the nest. Chicks hatch with white down which is usually lost at about one week, just before pin feathers start to appear below the skin. The red face masks can also be seen before any actual feathers have emerged. Both parent birds feed the chicks and a careful eye should be kept on the condition of the nest box as sometimes the nest material becomes very wet and should be changed after thoroughly cleaning the box. Cleaning the box and replacing the nest material has never resulted in the parents deserting the nest in my experience.



Litle Lorikeet chick (c) Bill Boyd


Chicks leave the nest at about five weeks and are usually independent within two weeks and should be removed if they are feeding themselves especially if the adult birds look like nesting again as they can become quite spiteful.

Little Lorikeets are in my opinion an active, pretty and not too noisy member of the lorikeet family who will live for  15 years or more if cared for properly. Hand reared specimens will become affectionate and some will even learn to say a few words (usually males).

Suspended cages are the enclosure of choice for this species and these are usually 1800mm long by 600-700mm square. These cages can be placed on a rigid frame of some description and be protected from the elements.  So minimum room is needed to house them and pairs placed side by side seem to enjoy each others company. Some squabbling across the wire may occur during the breeding season but as long as there can be no contact, no problems should occur. So with a little extra effort and care this little parrot can be an attractive addition to any collection.


author: Bill Boyd

Title photo: (c) David Cook. This file is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license.


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