Successful breeding of Purple-bellied Lories in Denmark

October 16th, 2015 | by John Christensen
Successful breeding of Purple-bellied Lories in Denmark
Breeding
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There is not much information about Purple-bellied lories in literature. However, this species is very rare in captivity so it may be the reason. In the following article, I would like to share my experience about their successful breeding.

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How I got my breeding pair…

My birds come from Danish breeder Claus Utoft in Give who bred this species firstly in Denmark in 2003. One day, I saw that he has young birds for sale on the internet, so after having a chat with my wife about it (and she said definitely yes from her side) I agreed with Claus to visit him and buy a young pair. His birds were placed in suspended cages in a room with no opportunity of outside flights. However, there was sprinkling system and proper lighting. Claus used conventional nestboxes for their breeding.

It was in November 2007 when I was going to pick them up . There was just one female and then a group of some males which I could choose from. I chose a big strong male and there was nothing to decide about in case of the female. She didn’t fly well because her parents plucked her a lot in the nest box. Claus honestly told me that the situation about her flying will not get much better but I didn’t need a super flyer, I needed a super breeder!

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The breeding pair (c) John Christensen

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(c) Iggino van Bael

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Facility

When I got home, both birds were put together to outside flight of dimensions 4 x 2 x 1 m (length x height x width) with heated shelter 1 x 1 x 1 m (length x height x width). I also hung a nestbox in inner part. The house is isolated so I can keep temperature above 15 ° C in the winter months. In my facility the lights are turned on from 6 am to 9 pm. This is checked by the timer.

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In the aviary there are plenty of branches of different diameter. Purple-bellied Lories love chewing and playing with them. They are also often seen hung on the top of the aviary.

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Inside aviaries (c) John Christensen

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Outside flights (c) John Christensen

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For all my lories L-shape nestboxes are used and I offered the same to the pair of ”hypos (=hypoinochrous)”. They accepted it immediately.

It was quite obvious that my new couple is bonding and they both went into the box at the same evening. I was a little nervous because we had to go on holiday the day after I got the birds. However,they were in good hands and while we were away everything was just fine.

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What a surprise!

Then I just had to wait and see what would happen. But there was plenty of time as they should be at minimum three years old to breed. Around Christmas time in 2010 I saw them both mating and going to nestbox frequently. So obviously, there is something going on I thought! On 19 January, 2011 big surprise was waiting for me – I had a quick look to the nestbox and there were two large eggs. The male looked really upset because of my visit. The female incubated both eggs very well so now I was curious if they are fertile or not.

Twenty seven days after laying I checked the nestbox again and there was a little chick covered by whitish down. Unfortunately, the second egg didn’t hatch but I was so happy to have at least one!

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Second successful breeding of Purple-bellied Lories. At this time, John bred 2 chicks. (c) John Christensen

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Both birds seemed to be very good parents and they care about their baby very well. However, they did not like my nestbox inspections and for me it was always very risky to do that. Each time it ended with an angry Purple-bellied male biting my fingers. That’s why I didn’t ring the chick, eventually. It was too risky. I would never believe how aggressive and passionate this species may be when protecting their babies from intruders.

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The chick grew well and after 11 weeks it left the nestbox for the first time. However, it was coming back the following week. While being outside, it was still together with its parents sitting on the perch. To see those three birds together in the outside flight was one of my best breeding experience ever. These moments keep you motivated and reward you for all the effort.

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Feeding

I feed my lories with a receipt from Rudiger Neff with much of pollen. They also get ‘Aves LoriDry’ nectar. I mix the liquid nectar with a full spoon of honey and then add a handful of fruits. It can be banana, pear, mango, papaya, honey melon etc. I don’t use oranges a lot because they contain too much tannin. As for lories, we should be careful about high concentration of vitamin C (It leads to Iron storage disease, a disease when iron is accumulated in liver. Vitamin C increases absorption of iron). Once a week I use ‘Nekton MSA’ and ‘Nekton S’ as supplement. They also get sprouted mixture of mungo beans, white sunflower dusted with a very fine eggfood from ‘Avian’ which is their favourite one. They also get 10-15 mealworms every day and they have clean water available all the time, of course.

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Purple-bellied Lory from the back (c) Iggino van Bael

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(c) Iggino van Bael 

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I feed with liquid nectar twice a day – in the morning before I leave to work and again in the afternoon when they also get Aves LoryDry, fruits and meal worms. In the afternoon I also clean all the bowls. I think it is really important to clean the dishes every day to prevent birds to get fungus or other infections. They love to have willow branches in their aviary, which they can chew easily.

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I recommend to keep lories to everybody. Although be sure that they are not so prolific as other parrots. They are my most favourite birds and watching them is a great daily joy. I keep only bigger lories, not lorikeets. It’s true that big lories can make a lot of mess but their amazing behaviour offsets this. As for maintenance, Purple-bellied Lories are not so different in comparison with other representatives of Lorius genus. Some pairs can pluck their chicks in the nestbox. This can be prevented by placing wire mesh over the chicks in the box so that parents can only come to feed them but won’t reach them to pluck. In my opinion, there are several issues causing plucking. Firstly, we hape to keep the nestbox dry. But I also consider that balanced diet and sufficient amount of animal proteins prevents this behaviour – but it’s just my presumption.

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(c) Iggino van Bael

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(c) Iggino van Bael

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What is future of these birds?

Will Purple-bellied lories survive in our aviaries? I do not think that Claus Utoft has this species anymore. As far as I know, there are some birds in Belgium, Germany and Switzerland, but maybe there are also some pairs in other countries. I hope that it will be possible to create a strong group, so the species persists in our aviaries.

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Title photo: (c) Iggino van Bael

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One Comment

  1. vicky says:

    Very good

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