All About Scaly Breasted Lorikeets

Updated on February 26, 2016
Artie and his friend Rosie
Artie and his friend Rosie | Source

Where They're From

My Pet Lorikeet, Artie

I have a four-year-old scaly breasted lorikeet called Artie. He is pretty much always talking, muttering, screeching, whistling or singing depending on his mood.

He constantly calls the dog, whistles at the dog, calls to the wild birds or is talking to his companion bird, a green-cheeked conure. That is, when he is not screeching!

Artie knows me by name and says hello to me when I come home from work. Apparently he asks where I am when I am not home. Artie also talks to himself. He says "Good boy, Artie" to himself a lot and when he sees something he likes he says "Look Artie."

Not only can Artie recognise people and other animals, but he knows specific words for food and other activities. He is an excellent mimic and copies the cries of wild birds.

It is not unusual to hear Artie making magpie, minor, cockatoo and corella noises. Lorikeets are definitely not quiet birds!

Artie on the bird gym
Artie on the bird gym | Source

About the Bird

Basic Facts

  • The technical name for the scaly breasted lorikeet is Trichoglossus Haematodus Chlorolepidotus. They are about 23 cms in size and weigh an average 86 grams.
  • They are usually smaller than rainbow lorikeets.
  • They are mostly green in colour are easy to tell apart from the more colourful rainbows.
  • They have little red 'epaulettes' and varying degrees of little yellow flecks on their chests and neck area.
  • Their beaks are red.
  • An unusual mutation is that they can sometimes be yellow or blue instead of green.
  • Even more rare are the cinnamon and jade mutations.

Background and Diet

Scaly breasted lorikeets are a member of the parrot family. A native bird of Australia, they live in urban and rural areas of coastal Eastern Australia from Cape York down to about Wollongong in New South Wales.

They are not currently at risk of extinction although I understand their numbers are reducing in Sydney due to fighting a losing battle with rainbow lorikeets over food sources. They are sold in many pet stores around the world and are relatively easy to obtain (unless your country has a restriction on the sale of certain birds).

They eat nectar and fruits and can often be seen squawking and eating in groups in trees including grevillea, acacia, eucalyptus, banksia, melaleuca, and any fruit bearing or pollen producing tree or shrub.

Sometimes they also eat grains and seeds, but they primarily prefer sweet things.

How to Keep a Scaly Breasted Lorikeet

Prepare for Mess

Lorikeets are really messy birds. Their faeces are wet, almost all liquid at times. They like to 'squirt' everywhere.

This means that it is easier for them to pick up diseases and conditions than a lot of other birds even though they seem more robust to me (maybe Artie has never been sick because his cage is cleaned every day).

This can happen if they 'squirt' into their food container and then eat it later. The most important thing to know is that their cages and aviaries must be kept clean.

A useful tip is to place the food containers higher up on the sides of the aviary to reduce the chances of contamination.


Also important is to provide fresh fruit and veggies every day as well as the special lorikeet food. I cut up little bits of fruit and veggies for the birds every morning and they also get fresh water.

Artie loves apples, oranges, pears, grapes, lettuce, carrots, spinach, pineapple, watermelon, paw-paw, strawberries, plums, apricots, and any other fruits. He hates bananas.

Schedule and Activity

They sleep in cages inside at night. In the morning they go out into their aviaries for the day where they can see the wild birds and get some fresh air.

In the afternoon or evening when I get home from work they come inside to be with each other and with the family for a few hours before bedtime.

I made a bird gym for them and they play on it in the family room. This keeps the mess isolated to that area.

Lorikeets need entertainment and can be destructive if bored. Artie loves music and will sing along, he will also pay attention to the TV.

Sometimes he will get really mad if he doesn't like a particular show or movie. He really hated "Vampires Suck." He screeched so badly every time the music got loud that I had to put him to bed.

It was a pretty awful flick, so he was on the money there! One time he got really scared when we were watching a horror movie and screamed and screamed as the killer was chasing the girl to do away with her.

Like all lorikeets, Artie needs to be played with regularly or he will not stay tame. A good game is to play tug of war with a bit of string (it must be large enough for him to hold with his beak).

Baby Artie
Baby Artie | Source

Weird Things Artie Does

Artie is naughty by nature - one of his favorite games is to tip over his water bowl and then kill himself laughing. He laughs his head off when I tell him off and then re-fill it. Then he just does it again.

He loves playing with a tennis ball. He laughs as he rolls it around and pushes it with his feet and beak. He likes to play with all sorts of toys, ropes, balls, things to chew.

If I do not give him enough toys he will destroy the furniture. He adores teasing the dog and especially likes to bite his ears, as you can see in the video.

Like other lorikeets, Artie is domineering. He can get very territorial and does not like it when some people reach into his aviary or try to play with our other bird, whom he regards as 'his.'

He doesn't mind me, but will often not let others enter his domain. He dominates the other bird, so now I have a 'split' aviary.

This really works as they are together but separated and the other bird can get enough food. If you had to sum Artie up in two words it would be adorable ratbag!

Artie and Long-Suffering Whippet

Should You Get One?

Lorikeets are not for the faint-hearted! If you want a gentle, sweet-natured bird who will cuddle up, do not get a lorikeet.

Lorikeets are rough and tumble birds. Sometimes they get agitated and will bite. On the other hand they are incredibly funny, intelligent and interesting. They are the larrikins of the bird world.

Artie is more like a little green dog than a bird at times! I really enjoy him, but others might not.


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    • profile image

      Jivan Leela 10 months ago

      Hi Mel, great article thankyou , I have two of the little feather trumpets..Monkee & Peanut,...needless to say I adore them and also now have tinnitus, but that's family for you isn't it.

      We were given Monkee as a baby as he was a runner, at the time we didn't know, I was looking after him for a wilvo friend until he got his flight feathers and tail but it never happened of course. He is now three and a strapping healthy boy, a great mimicker and boy can he move fast and bite around his territory!!!!!

      I am a musician so they keep me company during all rehearsals, although to be honest I am not sure who is louder! I taught Monkee how to play a drum and he has his own glockenspiels and even has a go at the gasong drum...he used to play all the time, especially on swings and with bottle lids..however, I got him a little female for company and now he is such a domineering little bugger, plays less but does protect her really well....

      My only challenge is getting babysitters for them on occasion when I finally want to go away for a couple of days, I did have one lady but she had to retire...I live on the sunshine Coast...any ideas anyone?

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      Amparo 11 months ago

      I got the most playfull and same as your loreeke and his name is Kikito 8 months old, never bit me and today when i came from work he was talking as always he does , and when I got him on my soulder , he atack me biting me on my neck and finger , and scriming and be so agresive mood, so , I put him back on his cage and lock him , his never lock in always free inside of my house, but he was so agresive so I spray water and lock him,

      my question is is that ok what i did , im feeling sad because we got so trusted between eachether,never bit me before:(

    • profile image

      jesse 3 years ago

      maxie, it is a shame i only just saw your comment know! i have a scaly he's name is calypso and he would love a girly play mate! i also live on the nsw/qld border in the northern rivers.. if anyone else is just like maxie let me know haha

    • Mel Jay profile image

      Mel Jay 3 years ago from Australia

      Sorry sandy, I have no idea how to tell how old birds. Some birds live so long. I think it would hard to know. Cheers, Mel

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      sandy 3 years ago

      Funny story Mel. I was wondering if anybody knows how you can tell how old a scaly lorikeet is?

    • Mel Jay profile image

      Mel Jay 4 years ago from Australia

      Thank you :)

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      Scaly lover 4 years ago

      Fantastic blog, I have two of the ratbags, an olive mutation and a mustard mutation. I smiled whilst reading about Artie and I've seen videos of him prior to reading this, adorable! :)

    • profile image

      Dani 4 years ago

      Love it

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      Maxie's mum 5 years ago

      We have a 3 year old who we saved from a certain death (3 years ago) we named him Maxie. Maxie talks, plays and all the other things that Artie does except he has now started laying eggs! Needless to say he is now Maxine. We would like to find a nice home for Mxie as we feel she needs companionship of other birds. My concern is that she has been so pampered she will not adapt to a full aviary life without being brought in at night etc. We live near the NSW/Qld border, anyone interested.

    • tigerbaby777 profile image

      tigerbaby777 5 years ago from Nampa

      What an excellent HUB! You just sold me on a Lorikeet for a companion to my Green Cheek Conure. He gets lonely while I'm at work and I think the gregarious nature of this bird would make him very happy. Thank you so much for sharing Artie with us. I voted UP!

    • Mel Jay profile image

      Mel Jay 6 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for the feedback Ghost32 :) You are right - Lorikeets are certainly not for everyone! Your kitten sounds like a real cutie - Cheers Mel

    • profile image

      Ghost32 6 years ago I know why I prefer cats! LOL!

      It's easy to see your love for Artie, but I think I'll stick to watching the wild birds through the window with Gato (kitten) as he tail-lashes and "chirr-r-rs" at them almost like a squirrel....

      Voted Up, Awesome, Beautiful.

    • Mel Jay profile image

      Mel Jay 6 years ago from Australia

      Hey thanks RJ - Much appreciated :) - I will certainly visit your hub with Linda - Cheers Mel

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 6 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      ONE follower? You jut doubled your follwers. THis is incredible with all these cute little creatures. I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. Up one and Useful. Hey! I'm now your fan! If you visit my HUB with Linda, please leave a brief a comment as it will brighten her day. RJ