Rainbow lorikeet. Photo: Graeme A Taylor.

Rainbow lorikeet

The rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) is an Unwanted Organism under the Biosecurity Act, with an exemption for bird fanciers to hold and sell birds.

The rainbow lorikeet is one of the pests managed by MPI Biosecurity, in partnership with DOC and regional councils, under the National Interest Pest Response initiative which aims to prevent rainbow lorikeets from establishing in the wild.

Native to some parts of Australia, the rainbow lorikeet was illegally released in the 1990s. This dominant and prolific bird now poses a significant threat to our native wildlife by competing for food and nesting sites and carrying avian diseases.

Rainbow lorikeets look very similar to the more common eastern rosella. The main distinguishing feature is the lorikeets' blue head.