Sunday, 29 March 2015


The ABC online photo of a Rainbow Larikeet eating mince at a home bird feeder, located at Elinban north of Brisbane, has created a lot of interest.Professor Darryl Jones of Griffith university " I'm up to date with all kinds of crazy things that birds are eating all over Australia. To see a Lorikeet eating meat astonishes me completely. I have never heard of such a thing before". he told ABC online.
The photograph by one of our members taken at Morven, south west Qld , in 1978 shows two birds sitting on a kangaroo carcass . May not be complete evidence Lorikeets eat meat in the wild."but"
Professor Jones later said he has received 180 email from people stating they have seen these birds eating meat.
We know Rainbow Lorikeets eat pollen and nectar, we may now not take things for granted.
Lorikeet about to enjoy eucalyptus flowers. photo by member.
Lorikeets my be about to enjoy a meal of  Roo meat. Morven 1978  photo by member.
The Lorikeets long tongue ------ designed to extract pollen.  Photo by Matt Watson

From a life member of the Gympie Field Naturalists Club.

The Australian environment is a pretty hard place in which to make a living and survive for most fauna species (as well as flora) .
Bird have developed specialities but will divert from that given the opportunity. The presence of a large quantity of food will attract many birds that are not supposed to normally eat that food.
The reason for 'abnormal' consumption is that species cannot afford to forego any good food source. That is not abnormal just part of their never ending search for food,it may not be what they prefer but that is irrelevant, it is food that is often hard to come by. We have seen Lorikeets on a number of occasions feasting on road kill along with any number of meat eaters.
Other odd food sightings have been Pied Butcher Birds eating ripe fruit particularly when there are young in the nest, probably a vitamin C source for the nestlings, Brown-cuckoo Doves deliberately selecting Wild Tobacco berries that have fruit fly maggots in them as a high protein source for young, all types of birds (40 sp in all) feeding on Silky Oak flowers and including Spangled Drongos, Butcher birds, Koels and a Swamp Pheasant checking it all out.
Honeyeaters look for insects under tree bark but also are also hunting for the high protein gum exudates that can follow damage by insects to the bark.
Swarming meat ant flights can number thousands of flying ants which are much to good a food source to ignore though the larger Honeyeaters, Friar Birds, are pretty clumsy but manage to catch enough to make it worthwhile.
When there is a large Spotted gum flowering episode the whole area attracts so many birds that the noise is more than audible 500m away and the resident Noisey Miners just give up and join in the feeding frenzy that included Fig Parrots feeding right alongside Little and other Lorikeets.
Outside birds - we have a colony of Black-striped wallabies near the house. One female has learnt to reach up and harvest red hibiscus flowers and has taught her young. So what, wallabies eat vegetation, but this species is very much a grazer which means looking up for food is not the usual way, that is a browsing behaviour like swamp wallabies.
Our fauna has had to be tough to survive and grabbing any food at any time is a large part of the survival techniques.