Chattering lory (Lorius garrulus)

Also known as: Yellow-backed lory
Spanish: Lori Gárrulo
GenusLorius (1)
SizeSize: 30 cm (2)

The chattering lory is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3). Three subspecies are recognised: the chattering lory (L. g. garrulus), yellow-backed lory (L. g. flavopalliatus) and Morotai lory (L. g. morotaianus) (2) (4).

The chattering lory (Lorius garrulus) mostly has a brilliant red plumage, with dull green thighs and wings, and a dark green tip to the tail (2) (5). Sometimes there are traces of yellow spotting on the mantle (2) (5), with the amount varying between the three subspecies (4). The bend of the wing and underwing-coverts are also yellow and the bill is orange, darker at the base (2).

Endemic to North Maluku, Indonesia, where it is known from Morotai, Rau, Halmahera, Widi, Ternate, Bacan, Obi (5) and possibly Kasiruta and Obilatau. The chattering lory has also been released on Sangihe, north of Sulawesi (6).

This is chiefly a canopy species most commonly found in primary lowland and montane forest up to 1,050 metres above sea level, although the chattering lory is tolerant of logged forest and has been recorded from mature secondary woodland next to cultivated lands, occasionally visiting coconut plantations and gardens (2) (5).

The chattering lory typically nests in holes 20 to 25 metres up in very tall trees (2) (5). The breeding season is thought to last from around June to November, possibly longer. In captivity, two eggs are laid per clutch and the nestling period lasts around 76 days (2).

The primary food items of the chattering lory are thought to be nectar and/or pollen, with local reports of feeding on coconut flowers along the coast, although fruits and maize are also included in the diet (6).

The chattering lory has undergone dramatic declines due to habitat loss and human exploitation for the cage-bird trade (5). Reputedly a good talker with strong imitative abilities, this bird is one of the most important in domestic trade in Indonesia and amongst the most exported (2) (5). Trapping pressure is very high, with a minimum of 9,600 individuals estimated to be caught in 1991 (2). Before the 1990s, forests within this bird’s range were largely intact, but intensive logging has since taken its toll on the landscape, with the creation of logging roads greatly facilitating access for trappers, exacerbating this problem (5).

A healthy chattering lory population occurs in the forests of Lalobata and Ake Tajawe on Halmahera, which are targeted for upgrading to national park status. Its listing on Appendix II of CITES also helps regulate the number of chattering lories traded internationally (5).

For more information on the chattering lory: 

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2011)
  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 (January, 2007)
  4. Harraden’s Habitat (February, 2007)
  5. BirdLife International (February, 2007)
  6. BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.