Lorikeet food is easier accessible in cities than in the wild

January 13th, 2015 | by LubosTomiska
Lorikeet food is easier accessible in cities than in the wild

Australian researchers found the answer on the question „Why there are still more lorikeets in urban areas?“ These parrots are dependent on blooming trees and similarly like american hummingbirds suck nectar from blossoms. That’s why it’s so difficult to substitute lorikeet food in captivity. And it was found that they do actually better in cities where they have easier access to food. „To determine whether the amount of nectar within the suburban landscape is comparable to that of the natural environment, we measured floral density and nectar concentrations in 24 sites in Sydney, Australia,“ wrote scientists in their study which was published in the Urban Ecosystems magazine. What is more, in urban areas Rainbow lorikeets and other lorikeet species can rely on local people who provide them parrot food to feeders.

Nectar is the most important lorikeet food

„Our research revealed that in most seasons, nectar was more readily available in streetscapes than in native forests, and that nectar-feeders tracked flowering. The constant food availability in streetscapes is likely to help explain why parrots are so successful in exploiting suburban environments,“ explained one of the researchers – Dr Richard Major on the website of the Australian Museum.



Rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus moluccanus).


When the accessability of parrot food is measured in urban areas and in the natural habitat, authors first of all count the density of flowering plants and extract nectar from blossoms afterwards. Total volume and the sugar concentration was noted. Results show that natural forests produce similar amount of nectar like plants in the cities. However, the production in urban areas is significantly higher in spring.

„The number of birds in streetscapes also depended on the species that were flowering at the time,“ said Dr Major. Besides lorikeets the study proved the same trend in the change of habitat at the Red Wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata) and Little Wattlebirds (Anthochaera chrysoptera). The easier accessibility to parrot food attracts to urban areas bigger cockatoo species as well. Some of them even nest in parks like the Gang-gang Cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum) in Canberra.

Title photo: wiki commons, © Christopher Watson


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