Yellow-bibbed Lory ( Lorius chlorocercus ): biology and breeding, by Gert van Dooren, PART II

April 6th, 2016 | by Gert van Dooren
Yellow-bibbed Lory ( Lorius chlorocercus ): biology and breeding, by Gert van Dooren, PART II

Read also the first part of this article:

Yellow bibbed Lory (Lorius chlorocercus): biology and breeding, by Gert van Dooren. PART I


Yellow-bibbed Lory breeding and care: tips for loribreeders


In general, it’s similar to other Lorius species such as Black-capped Lories (Lorius lory) but there are of course some differences. Firstly, I find Yellow bibbed Lory ( Lorius chlorocercus ) more active than most other lory species of the same size, especially in the morning and evening. I have also noticed that Yellow-bibbed Lory eat less during the day, and much more in the morning and evening. This behavior is similar with what I observed in the wild on the Solomon Islands.

In the morning the birds are very active and noisy. They are commonest in mid altitude hills, including degraded forest but uncommon in coconuts, to 1550 m. At midday, birds are quiet and calm. The heat of the day is most likely cause of this behavior. They often take a small nap in a tree. In the late afternoon / evening they start again with their search for food. Contrary, Massena lorikeets, (Trichoglossus h. massena) and Cardinal lories (Pseudeos cardinalis) are common in coconuts and plantations of eucalyptus there. Breeding season is from October till March. Young birds were seen with dark bills in March.



Yellow-bibbed Lory (c) Iggino van Bael


Most other lories that are already some generations captive do not have the same feeding habits anymore. Their habit usually change after a few generations because normal captive birds tend to eat as much as possible because they receive their meals easy 24 hours a day.  When you read about the field-notes of Cain, on birds of the Eastern Solomon Islands 1956, (By A.J. Cain and I.C.J. Galbraith, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford) you already know that this bird is more active than the others. Cain made field notes on 71 different species of birds. His notes were as follows:

“Habitat: Canopy of forest and second growth at all altitudes. Guadalcanal (commonest in lower mist forest, apparently les common in lowland than in “hill” forest), San Cristobal, Ugi and Ulawa. A single bird was once seen in coconuts on Guadalcanal, and on Ulawa the species was seen only at the edge of the groves: on San Cristobal one and two were seen among plantations (where Trichoglossus species seems to be rare and other lories absent), and on Ugi they are fairly common there. Usually, they move in individually or in pairs, but groups which count about ten  birds have been seen on Ulawa. Agile, often upside-down investigating epiphytes. Often kept as pets on a diet of roasted sweet potato or papaya by Guadalcanal natives. On this diet they can live up to 5-7 years. Voice: A shriek, commonly less harsh and more clearly phrased than in Eos or Trichoglossus, “chuich’liik” or “chu-er wee”: less commonly, various harsher shrieks “tcheeu” “eeee-ch” etc. Crop contents: vegetable matter, in greater quantity than in Eos and Trichoglossus and with a high proportion of small seeds (Cain, A.J. et al, 1956)”.

Why was this short story about the Yellow-bibbed Lory ( Lorius chlorocercus ) written by Cain? Nature can teach us a lot about Yellow-bibbed Lory breeding, those notes can of course help to tell what our Yellow-bibbed Lories need. There are no better stories; all books have copied this story or parts from it. There is little known about their wildlife on the Solomon Islands. My Yellow-bibbed Lory pair were wild caught birds from 1994. I was breeding them for more than 10 years. Yellow-bibbed Lory can reproduce for at least 20 years on a proper diet.



(c) Iggino van Bael



The birds were placed in inside walk-in aviary with dimensions 80 cm x 270 cm x 220 cm. Temperature does not fall below 15 °C Celsius and there is a sprinkle installation that can give the birds a shower. There is daily fresh drinking and bathing water. In the wild there is almost a daily shower after 11:00 o’clock. At that time the ground was always wet, the humidity high. They like a moist and humid climate with a good temperature. But, like other Lorius species they are also strong birds that can resist low temperatures. I know loribreeders who let their birds stay outside and have a minimum temperature of 5° Celsius inside. A big ventilator changes the air 4 times every hour. Clean air is a factor which should not be underestimated, but unfortunately this is often done. Clean air prevents fungus growth and it helps keep viruses from quick developing.

These peaceful birds have a pair of Green-naped Lories, which are closely related to the Massena lorikeets, as neighbors. The other side of the aviary has a brick wall. It is also possible to place, for example, a pair of Cardinal Lories next to our Yellow-bibbed Lory pair. These species live in the wild together. I think it is always better for the birds when you keep that in mind. It could make the difference between Yellow-bibbed Lory breeding and no success. The nestbox has size 20 x 20 x 65 cm with an entrance hole 6 cm. Inside the nestbox there are partial partitions to prevent the pair from falling on the eggs. No mesh is used as a ladder inside the nest-box because of the risk that these birds hang themselves up. I experienced this once with a Violet-necked Lory preparing their nest.

The Yellow-bibbed Lories ( Lorius chlorocercus ) chew the baffles, which are made from red cedar. Also when there are youngsters in the nest they easily chew a piece of red cedar 20 x 2 x 50 cm into small pieces. Besides their normal nectar solution, they have a dry diet that they receive a spoonful a day. All nectar and drinking dishes, which are made from stainless steel, are cleaned daily with a dishwasher at 65 ° Celsius. The wet and dry diet is taken from a recipe of Mr. R. Neff from Germany. He is a biologist and breeder of rare, difficult Lory species. This diet can be found in the Hancock House Encyclopedia of the Lories by Rosemary Low. Apple and some fruits are also eaten.



(c) Iggino van Bael


Providing of fresh branches is important, not only to chew but also for playing and resting. The normal perches will also be cleaner if enough branches are given. Dirty perches will give dirty eggs which will not hatch at the end of incubation. Aviaries must be cleaned completely once a week and disinfected with Halemid for example (Dutch product, a dry chlorine basis.). The incubation period takes about 24 or 25 days. During this period the female will take less food. Yellow bibbed Lory males often show aggression against the female when she leaves the nestbox. They immediately try to get female back to the nestbox. Somebody might be concerned about that but I have never had to remove a male because of this behavior.


Rearing chicks

During the day when chick is hatching, the male stays in the nestbox. At night both parents are in the nestbox. Male and female both feed their babies. The chicks grow slowly as with all other lory species; the dry diet, which has a higher amount of protein, is eaten more now. After 10 days, the female stops brooding the babies. It is very important to keep the temperature around 15° Celsius. With lower temperature chicks can get cold and will not beg for food. But it could also be the case that the temperature is right and parents just do not feed their chicks. If parents do not feed properly (with the right temperature), it is better to give the birds fresh food several times a day. This will stimulate the parents to feed (parents reject to feed with old food). At 8.00 pm, all birds are fed. Before 9.00 pm all pairs with chicks get a nest inspection to check which babies have enough food in their crops. Normally, parents always feed their youngsters at the same time they get fresh food.

A bad habit is that several parents pluck the chicks; some pluck less, other worse. I always place mesh of 25 x 25 mm above the babies at the age of about 4 or 5 weeks when this happens. It is important to check if the parents feed them through the wire, otherwise the mesh must be removed. After some days when the chicks are older you may try again. In the nestbox babies already start to preen their feathers. Later they will also preen their mate. Before they leave the nestbox, young birds exercise their wings by moving them quickly. When they leave the nestbox, they will still be fed by the parent birds for some weeks. It is safe with most Lorius species to remove them from the parents 4 weeks after leaving the nestbox.



Yellow-bibbed Lory babies, being plucked from their parents (c) Iggino van Bael


To make excellent loribreeders from those youngsters, it is very important to give them a proper socialization. This can be done by placing them in a group of other young birds of the same age. At young age I try to swap youngsters with other loribreeders, so new pairs are paired up young. This way they can make friends for a long time before breeding. That is important because breeding pairs are productive for a long time and they can be more than 20 years together before one passes away. Older birds are difficult to swap and problems are more easily prevented at a young age.

Complete parent rearing followed by placing them in a group of young lories is, for me, a natural goal. It always makes me happy seeing young birds in a group together, playing with their own kind. That is the biggest reward, more than for example winning twice a Dutch championship of lories and lorikeets. I have also 5 awards for the first time breeding of several Lory species in the Netherlands. But, breeding lories gives me more satisfaction and it does not matter if it is a rare or common species. There is a big responsibility to keep enough numbers in good bloodlines to prevent the species from disappearing after some generations. Poor bloodlines through inbreeding can be a threat in future. In Europe the situation is looking good for Yellow-bibbed Lories. Loribreeders are offering more Yellow-bibbed Lories than Back-capped Lories. This popular species will most likely survive in captivity.



Low, R., 1998, Hancock House Encyclopedia of the Lories
Cain, A.J. and I.C.J. Calbraith, 1956, Field Notes on Birds
of  Eastern Solomon Islands, Ibis 98: 100-134.
Forshaw, J.M., and  W.T.  Cooper,  1989Parrots  of  the


author: Gert van Dooren

Title photo: (c) Benjamint 444. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 only as published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License.


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