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Old 05-18-2020, 08:34 AM
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We had a plethora of unusual lorikeets in our yard today!

I was sitting doing my homework (studying Ancient Greek this year) when my son came flying into my room bellowing 'Quick Mum! There's all these tiny little green birds in the tree! I don't know what they are!' He said they were green with flashes of yellow and had red bands around their heads.

So we all trooped out and studied the big Lemon-scented gum tree in the corner of the yard. It's in blossom now and it's quite a magnet for all the blossom-feeders around (including bats). Today at three o'clock, there were the usual zillions of Rainbow and Scaly-breasted Lorikeets, but we estimated there were also somewhere between fifty and a hundred little Musk Lorikeets as well.

Hooray!!!

Musk Lorikeets are rarely ever noticed by most people because they are birds of the treetops. They zot from tall treetop to tall treetop in search of nectar, which they collect from the flowers with their brush-tongues. All you would see of them on most occasions would be a green blur streaking across the sky and the fading sound of their high-pitched shrieks.

But not today! All the little darlings were bent on gobbling up as much nectar as they could get out of our gum blossoms. They crawled all over the tree and were close enough that we got a really good look at them. When they open their wings, you see a lovely flash of golden yellow which streaks the flanks of their bodies. They have a wide red band that goes from the lores across the eyes and down toward the neck. I've included a link to the Wikipedia article on them, but the picture doesn't do these birds justice. Flitting around in the afternoon sunshine, they look exactly like tiny jewels. While the Rainbows certainly live up to their name, the Musk Lorikeets seem to have a more vibrant green which shows up their other colours more vividly.

My kids and I spent nearly an hour gawping at the bounty of beautiful birds in our tree. Suddenly, *some*thing triggered the flock and they left as one in a swift, undulating flight and landed about a mile away in a very tall Eucalyptus tree in the next suburb. We could still hear them calling and shrieking at each other all that distance away! You can bet I'll be watching out for the Musk Lorikeets again tomorrow! Maybe hubby will be able to get a decent photo for me?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musk_l...nq0QT7Xol4BogA

PS. The scientific name of the Musk Lorikeet is _Glossopsittacus concinna_ from the Greek 'parrot-tongued' and the Latin 'elegant'.

cf. Rainbow Lorikeet: _Trichoglossus haematodus_ from the Greek 'hairy tongued' and the Latin 'blood red'.

The bloody smarty-emu taxonomists have changed the Rainbow Lorikeet's name recently and re-named the species as 'moluccanus'. Considering the bird's distribution is heftiest *away* from the Straits of Molucca, I refuse to use it! So there!

Betrisher
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Old 05-18-2020, 08:43 AM
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Re: We had a plethora of unusual lorikeets in our yard today!

Quote: Originally Posted by Betrisher View Post

The bloody smarty-emu taxonomists have changed the Rainbow Lorikeet's name recently and re-named the species as 'moluccanus'. Considering the bird's distribution is heftiest *away* from the Straits of Molucca, I refuse to use it! So there!

Betrisher
They changed because the classification was changed a bit. This what was rainbow lorikeet (T. heamotodus) now is in 3 species: coconut lorikeet (T. heamotodus), rainbow lorikeet (T. moluccanus) and Biak lorikeet (T. rosenbergi)
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:13 AM
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Re: We had a plethora of unusual lorikeets in our yard today!

Yes. I know why it was changed. I just think the reason is silly! Most of the Rainbow Lorikeets exist on the eastern coast of Australia, far away from the Straits of Molucca for which they've been named. They should have renamed the Coconut Lorikeet and left the Rainbows as T.haematodus. IMHO.
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Old 05-18-2020, 09:31 AM
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Re: We had a plethora of unusual lorikeets in our yard today!

When they were one species, the name Trichoglossus heamotodus moluccanus had already existed for Swainson's lorikeets. Yes, they are far from Moluccas but I am sure somewhere has to bo a reason why they are called moluccanus... I think it is interesting but I don't know the etymology
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:50 AM
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Re: We had a plethora of unusual lorikeets in our yard today!

Fascinating, Trish! Where's a camera when needed?

Is this behavior seasonal aberration or just a one-off foray out of tree tops?
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Old 05-18-2020, 04:52 PM
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Re: We had a plethora of unusual lorikeets in our yard today!

It's kind of seasonal behaviour because the Muskies migrate throughout their range. What's remarkable is that they clustered together in numbers big enough to be noticed. Locally, I only ever see them in groups of half-a-dozen or so and usually on their way to somewhere else. Our tree must be having a bumper year or something - Rainbow numbers are up as well. Sadly, the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos have moved on elsewhere. I'll look for them again in the spring.

PS. While we watched our lorikeets, a flock of wild corellas flew over, causing poor Rosetta to bellow her lungs out, saying 'G'day! G'day! 'ow yas goin' mate?' The rude buggers never even paused to speak to her.
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:18 AM
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Re: We had a plethora of unusual lorikeets in our yard today!

In looking into these little ones, I found this nice explanation!

I also came across this gem! Watching these two couples is a hoot!
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Old 05-19-2020, 07:40 AM
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Re: We had a plethora of unusual lorikeets in our yard today!

I'll come back to rainbow lorikeets and their silly latin name...
Today during writing about Cacatua cockatoos on my fb webside I had to check the latin name for Moluccan cockatoo. It is Cacatua moluccensis. Rainbow lorikeet is Trichoglossus moluccanus. I know you know latin, I totally don't know it, expcept some parrot names. I wrote this because maybe you will understand something what's goin' on with moluccanus?
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:52 PM
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Re: We had a plethora of unusual lorikeets in our yard today!

Moluccanus is in the nominative case, so it would imply 'a Moluccan parrot or a parrot like Molucca'.

Moluccensis is in the genitive, so 'a parrot of, or originating from Molucca'.

The distinction is tiny, but it is a distinction.

Last edited by Betrisher; 05-20-2020 at 03:34 AM.
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Old 05-20-2020, 02:30 AM
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Re: We had a plethora of unusual lorikeets in our yard today!

Quote: Originally Posted by Rozalka View Post
Quote: Originally Posted by Betrisher View Post

The bloody smarty-emu taxonomists have changed the Rainbow Lorikeet's name recently and re-named the species as 'moluccanus'. Considering the bird's distribution is heftiest *away* from the Straits of Molucca, I refuse to use it! So there!

Betrisher
They changed because the classification was changed a bit. This what was rainbow lorikeet (T. heamotodus) now is in 3 species: coconut lorikeet (T. heamotodus), rainbow lorikeet (T. moluccanus) and Biak lorikeet (T. rosenbergi)
There are many more species , not just 3. Scarlet breasted and Red collared being two others but I think there are a few more too. I can dig the details if interested.
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