Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Scaly-breasted Lorikeets (almost)

Knowing that Swift Parrots sometimes hang out at Woodlands Drive in Ocean Grove (Vic) we drove down last Sunday and started looking. We didn’t find any Swifties but many of the eucalypts were in heavy flower and the lorikeets were everywhere. Musk and Rainbow Lorikeets were in the majority but a few Purple-crowned were mixed in with them.
Musk Lorikeet - taken at Ocean Grove

Amongst the flocks we also found what looked like Scaly-breasted Lorikeets and I thought I had a new bird for this year’s list. It was not to be though because as we looked we saw that what we had first thought were Scaly-breasted Lorikeets had all actually hybridised with either Rainbow or Musk Lorikeets.
An old photo of a Rainbow Lorikeet - not taken at Ocean Grove

The Musk/Scaly-breasted Lorikeets hybrids had the bright red foreheads and ear coverts that go with the Musks. They had also taken on some of the Musks darkness at the base of the bill.
Scaly-breasted/Musk Lorikeet hybrid

Those that had crossed with the Rainbows had purple head feathers infused with the green of the Scaly-breasted. The breast “scales” also appeared to be more orange than yellow.
Scaly-breasted/Rainbow Lorikeet hybrid

All images are © Jen Spry unless otherwise stated and may not be used without written permission

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