Found in the mangroves, lowland and secondary forests of the Solomon Islands, the Cardinal Lory is fairly common in the wild and abundant throughout most of its range. It is listed on CITES Appendix II and is considered a Birdlife International "restricted-range" species, which means that, while the species is abundant in numbers, the range of the species is limited and could be easily threatened.
The Cardinal Lory is a bright red bird with darker red coloring on the back and wings. Its beak is reddish orange and the skin around the eyes and feet are gray. The Cardinal Lory is about 11 ½ to 12 inches long (30-31 cm) and weighs about 173-215 grams. In the wild, Cardinal Lories generally feed on the fruit-bearing trees Elaeocarpus species and Syzygium species, preferring species of trees with red flowers.
The Cardinal Lory was virtually unknown in aviculture, outside of the Solomon Islands, until 1989 when the Solomon Island government first permitted commercial export of its birds. During the next few years, limited numbers of Cardinal Lories were brought into the United States. After the passing of the Wild Bird Conservation Act in 1992, importation of the Cardinal Lory was banned except for approved breeding consortiums approved by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).
In 1999, the Solomon Island Parrot Consortium (an approved cooperative breeding program which imports lories that are not well established in U.S. Aviculture) imported 30 pairs of Cardinal Lories into the United States to augment the existing small captive population. The Cardinal Lory proved to be similar to the other Chalcopsitta species in captivity. When hand-reared, young Cardinal Lories can be extremely trusting individuals. While Cardinal Lories make exceptional pets, at this time most offspring should be placed into breeding situations until their numbers are better established.
We are proud to announce that we now have three generations of Cardinal Lories in our aviaries. The first generation are original wild caught adults that were imported as part of the Solomon Island Parrot Consortium.
Collar, N.J. (1997). Family Psittacidae (Parrots). Pp. 280-477 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliot, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. (1997). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol 4. Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Edicions: Barcelona
Low, R. (1998). Hancock House Encyclopedia of the Lories. Hancock House: Blaine, WA