Varied lorikeet

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Varied lorikeet
Psitteuteles versicolor -Queensland-8-4c.jpg
In Queensland, Australia
Scientific classification
P. versicolor
Binomial name
Psitteuteles versicolor
(Lear, 1831)

Varied lorikeet, species Psitteuteles versicolor, is a parrot, family Psittacidae, endemic to northern coastal regions of Australia.


holotype by Edward Lear

The first depiction of the species was included in a seminal folio by Edward Lear, the subject of his illustration has since been lost and it became recognised as the holotype. The image was published as the thirty sixth lithographic plate between November and December 1830, without a location or description, in his work Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots (1830–32) depicting live specimens in English zoological exhibitions and private collections. The name supplied in the caption was Trichoglossus versicolor, with the subheading "Variegated Parrakeet". The source of the specimen, according to Richard Schodde (1997), was incorrectly determined as "Cape York", a location proposed by Gregory Mathews in 1912 and subsequently repeated. Schodde reports the absence of records at that location, instead drawing attention the surveys of Admiral King along the Northwest coastline from Arnhem Land to King Sound and settlements in 1824, Fort Dundas at Melville Island, and the 1827 Fort Wellington at Raffles Bay, and giving this region as the likely source of the collection.[2][3] [4]


The varied lorikeet is about 19 centimetres (7.5 in) long. It is mainly green with short yellow longitudinal streaks. The lores, forehead, and crown are red. The beak is red, the bare eye-rings are white, the lores are bare, and the irises are orange-yellow. The upper breast is mauve with longitudinal yellow streaks. The legs are bluish-grey. In the female the red on the head is less extensive, and the breast has duller colours. Juveniles are much duller and are mainly green with an orange forehead, pale-brown irises, and a brown beak that is orange at the base.[5]


The varied lorikeet mates in April–August and will lay 2–4 white eggs in a tree hollow.

Range and habitat

The varied lorikeet lives in tropical eucalypt forests, wetland and grassland areas in northern Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.[1]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Psitteuteles versicolor". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Schodde, R. in Schodde, R. & Mason, I.J. 1997. Aves (Columbidae to Coraciidae). In, Houston, W.W.K. & Wells, A. (eds). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Melbourne : CSIRO Publishing, Australia Vol. 37.2 xiii 440 pp. [130].
  3. ^ Condon, H.T. (1975). Checklist of the Birds of Australia. Part 1 Non-Passerines. Melbourne: Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union. p. 184.
  4. ^ "Species Psitteuteles versicolor (Lear, 1831) Varied Lorikeet". Australian Faunal Directory. Department of Energy and Environment. Retrieved 28 October 2018. Taxonomic Decision for Subspecies Arrangement: Condon, H.T. 1975.
  5. ^ Forshaw, Joseph M. (2006). Parrots of the World; an Identification Guide. Illustrated by Frank Knight. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-09251-6.

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