Blue lorikeet (Vini peruviana)

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Adult blue lorikeet on leaf
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Blue lorikeet fact file

Blue lorikeet description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPsittaciformes
FamilyPsittacidae
GenusVini (1)

This stout lorikeet is immediately identifiable by its striking pattern of white cheeks and bib against a mostly dark blue plumage, combined with an orange bill and legs (2) (4). No less recognisable is this bird’s call, which consists of a very high-pitched hissing screech scheee-scheee (4).

Also known as
Tahitian lorikeet/lory.
Spanish
Lori Monjita.
Size
Length: 18 cm (2)
Weight
31 – 34 g (2)
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Blue lorikeet biology

Breeding has been recorded in October, December and January, with nests found high up in holes in trees. Clutches of two eggs are incubated for 25 days in captivity, and the nestling period lasts around 60 days (2).

The blue lorikeet feeds on nectar, soft fruit, flowers and leaf shoots, particularly of coconut, banana, guava and mango (2) (4). It is also observed to consume small insects and the larvae (caterpillars) of moths and butterflies (5).

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Blue lorikeet range

The blue lorikeet is today found on only 9 of up to 24 islands on which it was known to occur at the time of European discovery of the Pacific. Eight of these islands are located in French Polynesia, including the Society Islands and the northern atolls of the Tuamotu Archipelago (5). An additional population occurs on Aitutaki, in the Cook Islands (4). Recent surveys in French Polynesia, combined with information from previous surveys, suggest a global population estimate for the species of between 7,200 and 9,000 individuals (5).

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Blue lorikeet habitat

The blue lorikeet is most commonly found on atolls and low islands where it is typically found in coconut plantations (5). On high islands it is found in all habitats, but is most common in lowland woodlands, mixed stands of native and cultivated trees, flowering plants, gardens, and coconut and banana plantations (2) (4).

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Blue lorikeet status

The blue lorikeet is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1), and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable

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Blue lorikeet threats

The extinction of blue lorikeets from many islands is primarily a result of predation by black rats (Rattus rattus) (6) and feral cats introduced by humans, as well as hunting for illegal trade, mainly by locals (4) (6). A particularly violent hurricane is also thought to have had a significant impact on bird populations on Makatea, in the Tuamotus (4).

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Blue lorikeet conservation

Survival of this species is dependent on the absence of black rats on the islands where it remains. Thus, raising conservation awareness about the need to prevent the introduction of this animal is essential in the long-term protection of this colourful lorikeet (2). In addition, eradication of black rats on infested islands should be undertaken (5).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

For more information on the blue lorikeet see:

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Authentication

Authenticated (06/05/2009) by Mark Ziembicki, Biodiversity Conservation Unit, Dept. of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts (NRETA).
http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/wildlife/programs/staff/index.html

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References

  1. IUCN Red List (May, 2009)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1997) Handbook of the Birds of the World – Sandgrouse To Cuckoos. Vol. 4. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. CITES (October, 2006)
    http://www.cites.org
  4. BirdLife International (May, 2009)
    http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/index.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=1367&m=0
  5. Ziembicki, M. and Raust, P. (2006) Status and conservation of the Vini lorikeets of French Polynesia. Report to the Loro Parque Foundation and CEPA. Société d’Ornithologie de Polynésie, Papeete, French Polynesia.
  6. Bennu, D.A.N. Ph.D. (1999) Rare and Endangered Lories (May, 2009)
    http://www.loryresearchgroup.org/rare-lories.html
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Image credit

Adult blue lorikeet on leaf  
Adult blue lorikeet on leaf

© Gerald McCormack

Gerald McCormack
http://cookislands.bishopmuseum.org/

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