Feeding Lorikeets and Lories

LAST UPDATED 22 November 2021

This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarians, Dr Nicole Su BSc BVMS MANZCVS (Unusual Pets) and Dr Emilee Lay BSc Vet Hons BVSc

Lorikeets are natural nectar feeders, flourishing in the wild on a diet of pollen from native flowers. Here in Australia, there are six species of lorikeets that can be found in the wild. Their unique brush - like tongue allows them to feed on pollen, nectar and even fruits. Like many wild birds, they spend a lot of their time foraging for food, seeking out a diet that is high in energy and low in protein. Lories which can be found as pets here in Australia include Black Capped Lories, Chattering Lories and Dusky Lories. 


Although it is believed their diet consists predominantly of nectar, it is in fact pollen which is likely the major food group for Lorikeets.  In the wild lorikeets have been known to also eat insects, insect larvae and other bugs which can be found naturally in foliage. This holds true for Lories which are often found up in the canopies of forests feasting on fruit, seeds, buds and pollen. 

Dry and Wet Lory Food

Commercial lorikeet and lory food comes in wet, dry and pelleted forms. Any combination of these types of foods should make up the bulk of the diet (up to 70%). Wet and dry formulations have their pros and cons!  Wet foods, although more palatable, need to be made fresh daily, with the uneaten portion discarded, as soon as possible to minimise bacterial and yeast build up. Dry foods require large amounts of fresh water to be made readily available, as Lorikeets often contaminate the water with the powder so that they can eat it. On the other hand, pellet and crumble diets are not the normal texture to which lorikeets are inclined to feed from. However they are great for minimising mess, and contamination of water, and can help reduce the liquid consistency of Lorikeet poops! 

Check out our “How to feed Pellets” guide if you are wanting to transition your lorikeet onto a crumble/pellet diet. 

Flowers, Vegetables and Fruit

The remainder of the diet should consist of fresh native flowers and vegetation for Australian birds as well as fruits and vegetables. Suitable fresh fruit and vegetables include pumpkin, sweet potato, leafy greens like spinach, celery, and bok choy, apple, carrot, peas, capsicum, and pear. Avocado, onion, garlic, and ginger are toxic to birds. Remember to remove the seed/pits from fruit when feeding it to your bird. Fresh food can be cut up into “chop,” which can then be refrigerated for up to a week, or can be fed as whole pieces of fruit and vegetables.

When feeding native vegetation such as Bottle Brush or Grevillias make sure they are free of wild bird droppings, or better yet, grow some in your yard so that you have a fresh supply! Native plants are a wonderful edition to the garden, and generally grow very easily with minimal maintenance - check with your local nursery as to what you may be able to grow at home. 

Feeding Accessories for Lorikeets and Lories

Lorikeets and Lories can be quite messy eaters, that's why it is important to invest in good quality feeding bowls and accessories that are durable and easy to clean. Metal bowls are particularly good for this, and unlike plastic containers, are far easier to clean and less likely to harbour harmful bacteria. Bear in mind that if you notice any of the metal accessories such as bowl holders begin to rust, to change these out as needed as birds can be prone to Heavy Metal Toxicity from exposure to rusty cages and accessories. 

Consider adding bird specific cleaning disinfectants to your home routine to help maintain freshness when sprouting seed and general cleaning of feed containers and cages. 

We recommend having 3-4 sets of dishes and bowls for your birds so they can be easily cleaned and replaced twice a day. They also allow you to easily mix foods. For example, seed and pellets can be mixed up with vegetable and fruit chop. 

Multiple fresh water stations should always be available, and avoid placing food and water feeders under perches, as they are more likely to become contaminated with waste.

Using Food as Enrichment

Lorikeets spend a large amount of their time in the wild foraging for food and creating mischief! In a pet setting you can easily replicate this at home, with plenty of wild forage and a variety of food on offer. Natural foliage will need to be hosed off and thoroughly sun dried prior to use. Foraging toys for parrots are fantastic for hiding treats in nooks and crannies for your bird to discover. Likewise appropriating dog and cat enrichment toys for birds is another way to get those brains fired up. 


Further Reading

Want to read more? Check out our other articles:

Feeding Honeyeaters

Common Bird Illnesses and How to Avoid Them

Why Your Bird Should Be Eating Pellets

How to Sprout Seed For Your Birds

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