Of the many parrot species that can be seen in Centennial Parklands the rainbow lorikeet would have to be one of the most beautiful.
A multi-coloured bird with a bright red bill, streaky blue head and red eyes, they have a greenish-yellow collar and a green back and tail. Their chest is red-orange and their belly is blue.
They fly fast and direct over, or twist and turn sharply amongst the trees and are usually in pairs or large flocks. In flight their call is a rolling musical screech, and while feeding they give a more mellow chattering call. They move extensively around the area in search of suitable flowering or fruiting trees. Once they find a suitable tree they will feed noisily in large groups.
They have a specialised brush-tipped tongue which they use to extract nectar and pollen from flowering eucalypts, banksias and paperbarks. Fruit is also on the menu and a tree full of ripe fruit can prove irresistible, attracting large numbers of lorikeets.
At night they like to roost in very large numbers and the sound of them gathering to roost can be quite deafening.
Rainbow lorikeets can be found along the east coast in rainforests, woodlands, coastal banksia scrub, plantations, gardens and street trees. They have been very successful around Sydney and their numbers have increased over the years.
Nesting takes place from July to January and the nest is built in a hollow limb or trunk in a smooth-barked tree, often near water and quite high. They lay a clutch of 2–3 eggs that are incubated by the female. The young birds leave the nest after about nine weeks. These wonderfully loud and colourful birds can be seen flying over Centennial Parklands, or feeding in groups in any flowering trees.