Cardinal Lory

Cardinal Lory 

Scientific Name: Chalcopsitta Cardinalis
Origin: Solomon Islands
Average Lifespan: 15 years
Size:  12 inches
Color: Mainly Red
Sounds: Whistler
Interaction:  Social

Cardinal lory

Photo: Rennett Stowe |Flickr

Physical Description of Cardinal Lory

The specie of Cardinal Lory is an eye-catching monotypic species of parrot which belongs to the Psittaculidae family. It lives primarily in the mangrove, coastal plantations and lowland forest areas of the Feni, Nissan and Lavongai Islands, Islands in the Tanga, Lihir and Tabor Group, Solomon Islands, Bougainville Island and easternmost islands of the Bismarck Archipelago.  It measures up to 31 cm or 12 inches in length, which includes its long tail and weighs about 173-215 grams.  Its plumage is mostly deep red, while its beak is orange with black at its base.

The bare skin at the base of its beak and around its eyes is black, with light streaks of yellow.  Its irises are striking orange-red.  Both male and female cardinal lory appear similar in their physical appearance, but may differ in size as the male is generally larger than the female.  Its young or the juveniles can be identified by their dull orange and black bills, pale grey eye-

Cardinal Lory’s presence in their habitat is moderate and its population continuous to increase.  However, it is cited as one of the species belonging to the restricted-range, which means that even though its population is not threatened and experiences steady grow in numbers, its range is still limited while the risk of experiencing a decline in population number is at a high risk.   The good news is that it is not believed to approach the threshold of being vulnerable or to be qualified as vulnerable under the range size criterion.

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Personality and Temperament

Cardinal Lories make an exceptional pet and proves to be similar to the other Chalcopsitta species in captivity. When these birds are hand-reared, young ones can be very trusting birds.  As being highly endangered, any suitable species of this breed which were unable to be released back into the wild or to their natural habitat or native range is preferably transferred into a well-managed breeding facility to make sure that the continuity or the survivability of the species is achieved.

Moreover, this species can be exceptionally trusting and friendly to humans, which makes it one of the most demanded birds kept as family pet.  It makes distinctive, coarse, shrieking, trilling or rasping sounds depending on its mood.  In general, it would chatter cheerfully when in good mood or when well-provided with good diet and substantial amount of water.

Like most bird species, the Cardinal Lory readily moves from island to island to feed and roost when in its natural habitat where they can freely fly and roam around.

Health and Care

Wild Cardinal Lory species’ natural diet is composed of fruit-bearing trees such as Elaeocarpus and the specie of Syzygium, and prefers trees that bear red flowers. It also feeds on nectar or pollen of native flowers such as bottlebrush and grevilleas.  Its diet also includes berries and fruits, and sometimes greens.

The Cardinal Lory feeds itself using its unique brush-like tongue.  Because it needs a special kind of diet, it is important to provide it with similar diet to keep it healthy when in captivity.  Also, providing it with substantial amount of fresh water is crucial for maintaining good health.

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History and Background

An approved cooperative breeding facility for birds called the Solomon Island Parrot Consortium imports Lories that aren’t well recognized in U.S. Aviculture. This group imported 30 pairs of this specie into the United States in the year 1999 with the purpose to augment its existing small number of captive population.

Cardinal Lories were not a popular bird species in its original habitat of Solomon Islands until 1989, which was the year when the government of Solomon Island initially allowed exportation of its birds.  For the next several years, only a few Cardinal Lories were allowed to be exported on United States.

Today, Cardinal Lory has gained popularity and continuous to thrive in number.  It is becoming more and more popular as dedicated breeders have succeeded to yield favorable results.

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