There are twenty-two recognized subspecies of Trichoglossus haematodus, more subspecies than in any other parrot species. Ranging in color and size from the small green and yellow Weber's Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus weberi), to the larger, more robust, and brightly colored Swainson's Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus molluccanus), the Trichoglossus haematodus subspecies are commonly referred to as "Rainbow Lorikeets."
The Rosenberg's Lorikeet is found in the lowland forests on the island of Biak, Irian Jaya, Indonesia. As a species, Trichoglossus haematodus is fairly common throughout most of its range. It is listed on CITES Appendix II. However, some individual subspecies are not as common as the others. It is suggested that the Rosenberg's Lorikeet only occurs in a small area on Biak and the population is small. In addition, much of the lowland forest is being deforested, causing the Rosenberg's Lorikeet to be considered vulnerable. The Rosenberg's Lorikeet is a bit larger then the nominate subspecies (Trichoglossus haematodus haematodus, Green-naped Lorikeet) at a length of 11 inches (28cm) and weighing about 120 grams.
The Rosenberg's Lorikeet is easily distinguishable from all other subspecies. The head is bright blue. The breast is bright red with heavy, glossy purple-blue barring. The collar is greenish yellow and is wider then in any other subspecies. Between the collar and the head and the collar and the back are narrow red bands. The upper side of the bird is green. The underside of the tail is olive yellow and the legs and vent feathers are green and yellow. The beak is orange-red and the feet are gray.
In the wild, the Trichoglossus haematodus group feeds on a wide variety of foods. They are known to eat the pollen and nectar from over a dozen trees; including Eucalyptus, Grevillea, Schefflera and bottlebrush; the fruits of Ficus, papaya and mangoes; seeds of Cassia and Casuarina and insect pupae.
Not many Rosenberg's Lorikeets were ever brought into the United States. Fortunately, many of the birds that were imported were placed into breeding programs. While the numbers are still fairly low, there has been in the recent years an excess of hens, allowing some Rosenberg's Lorikeets to be placed in pet homes.
Hand-reared Rosenberg's Lorikeets can become incredibly tame. They are very outgoing and quite friendly towards their keepers. It is our experience that hand-reared birds remain very calm and trusting of people even after being paired with a mate. From this, we can only conclude that they would make exceptional pets.
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