Rainbow Lorikeet variations

12 September, 2010

Regular and aberrant Rainbow Lorikeets.
Regular and aberrant Rainbow Lorikeets.
Image: David Tattam
Source: David Tattam

Question: I saw a strangely coloured Rainbow Lorikeet.  Was it a new species or a young bird?  Or perhaps it was not a Rainbow Lorikeet…

Answer: This is a rather beautiful but aberrant Rainbow Lorikeet. The blue head is replaced by a reddish wash and many of the green body feathers are replaced with yellow.

Over the years the Ornithology Collection Manager here at Museum Victoria has noticed a number of such variations and they are referred to in several parrot books. The anomaly is explained by a gene which regulates colour, this causes such variations.

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