Little lorikeet

Glossopsitta pusilla


The Little Lorikeet is the smallest of Australia’s lorikeets; it is endemic to eastern mainland Australia from Cape York to South Australia. In NSW it is listed as vulnerable.

It is a bright green parrot, with a red face surrounding its black bill and extending to the eye. The undertail is olive-yellow with a partly concealed red base, and the underwing coverts are bright green. The mantle is imbued with light brown.

Flight is swift and direct, with rapid shallow wing-beats; birds flushed from a tree usually weave through the treetops but flocks travelling long distances usually fly high on a direct course.  In flight, they appear small and compact, with short angular wings and a short pointed tail.

Feeding on nectar and pollen they forage primarily in the canopy of open Eucalyptus forest and woodland, yet also finds food in Angophora, Melaleuca and other tree species. Riparian habitats are particularly used, due to higher soil fertility and hence greater productivity. Isolated flowering trees in open country, e.g. paddocks, roadside remnants and urban trees also help sustain viable populations of the species. They may also feed in flowering paperbarks, mistletoes or grass-trees when the eucalypts are not in flower.

As other parrots they rely on hollow branches and holes when breeding. They seek hollows in the limb or trunk of smooth-barked Eucalypts with a small entrance (3 cm) and usually high above the ground (2–15 m). These nest sites are often used repeatedly for decades, suggesting that preferred sites are limited.

Riparian trees often chosen, including species like Allocasuarina.