The rainbows you don’t want over Perth

Since its introduction as an aviary escapee to the Perth metropolitan region in the early 1960’s, the rainbow lorikeet population has increased dramatically, from fewer than 10 birds to in excess of 20,000 individuals.  Rainbow lorikeets are now expanding their range to outer metropolitan and rural areas and causing damage to horticultural crops such as grapevines and stonefruit.  Other problems caused rainbow lorikeets include noise, fouling of outdoor areas and vehicles with droppings and competition with native species.

Methods of control currently used in Western Australia, to reduce local populations and mitigate damage, include shooting and trapping.  These techniques are time-consuming, labour-intensive, costly and not always appropriate for highly populated metropolitan areas.  Rainbow lorikeets congregate in flocks when both feeding and roosting. Identifying species-specific roosting and feeding strategies may open up new opportunities for control methods of this invasive species and other similar species.

This project will involve setting the ground work for alternative methods of control through:

  • Determining trees which rainbow lorikeets access for nectar when they are flowering.
  • Monitor trees to determine specific flowering times and consequent visits by rainbow lorikeets.
  • Determining species-specific methods of attracting/feeding rainbow lorikeets.
  • Obtaining data on a) effectiveness of attracting lorikeets b) variability in numbers and c) lorikeets can be encouraged to prolong their presence at feeding stations, after flowering has ceased, with extended feeding.

Partnership project with Department of Parks and Wildlife and Department of Agriculture and Food WA.  Contact: Trish Fleming