Musk Lorikeets belong to a group of noisy colourful native parrots. They are endemic to South Eastern Australia and are found in NSW, Victoria, and south-east South Australia.
They are largely nomadic and will travel significant distances to find the patches of flowering trees they feed on.
Found in the Hunter Region but usually more to the west, this year there has been an influx with hundreds of birds reported in large flocks.
The habitat they prefer is tall open dry forest and woodlands, where they forage high in the canopy, making them difficult to see. However, the distinctive shrill calls they make even when feeding, would alert the observer to look up.
Musk Lorikeets do not usually inhabit logged forests.
As with many other species of native birds, they will venture into urban areas to feast on flowering trees in streets and parklands.
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The birds are beautifully coloured and are cleverly camouflaged amongst the leaves and often brightly coloured blossoms. These birds are mostly green, with yellow patches on their sides and bright red patches above the bill and behind the eye. To cap it off, they have a bright blue head and a red tip to an otherwise darker bill. In flight they show golden feathers in the tail.
At 22cms long they are one of the smaller lorikeets and often can be found in large feeding flocks with Scaley-breasted Lorikeets, the smaller Little Lorikeet and Swift Parrots.
Lorikeets have a brush tipped tongue which is ideally suited to extract the nectar from flowering eucalypts. Apart from pollen and nectar, they also eat seeds, fruit and insects and their larvae.
They nest in the existing hollow limbs of trees and produce their young in the spring.
This week I ventured out to Tenambit to investigate the flowering trees and in the hope that maybe a Swift Parrot might be visiting. The noise of the feeding lorikeets was deafening from the moment I got out of the car. There were hundreds of Musk Lorikeets feeding and much of the noise was made by the more aggressive Rainbow Lorikeets, defending their territory.
The feeding frenzy lasted for hours and was also evident at the nearby Earthcare Park woodlands.
A lovely way to spend a morning. It was a wonderful sight, but alas no Swift Parrots.