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20080530Da_EL_052=_MG_4973_Rainbow_Lorikeet_preening-cropped_vertical.jpg
Rainbow Lorikeets mirror preening.  //  Rainbow Lorikeet - Psittacidae: Trichoglossus haematodus. Length to 30cm; wingspan to 45cm; weight to 150g; As part of the pair-bonding ritual Rainbow Lorikeets engage in a distinctive behaviour called mirror-preening - the two birds sit close together and preen so that at times they mimic each other's postures. This is a deliberate behaviour, and the postures can vary widely but always mimic each other - here they clean and reposition the feathers of the wing coverts. At other times they may preen individual tail or wing feathers together, or reach for the preen gland (oil gland) above the base of the tail, etc. This behaviour is interspersed with individual preening where each 'goes its own way', preening as needed to maintain plumage integrity. This species may be mated for life, but not certain due to insufficient data from the wild. The brown colour indicates the affected feathers (normally green as on the back) have structural colour caused by micro-structures on the barbules fine enough to alter the wavelength of reflected light. When wet this colour change occurs, only to be restored as the feathers dry. Found in coastal regions in northern and eastern Australia from the Kimberley Region in northern Western Australia (Red-collared Lorikeet) to eastern South Australia. Occurs in forests, woodlands and rural and urban areas. Feeds mainly on nectar and pollen which it gathers with its brush-tipped tongue. Aviary-escapees are established in many towns and cities. Now occurs in south-west Western Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong.  Widespread with many subspecies - often with a different name - from eastern Indonesia (Maluku = Molucca Islands) through New Guinea east to Vanuatu and New Caledonia, north through Manus and the Admiralty Islands the Philippine Islands (taxonomy of the group is not yet finalised and this may be a different species).  Common.  //Eric Lindgren//