Bird Families

Parrots (Psittaciformes)


V. TRETYAKOV, biologist.

In the family of parrots, ornithologists distinguish the subfamily Loriinae, or brush-tongued. Unlike other parrots, which have a smooth skin of the tongue, in Loriaceae, the end and top of the tongue are covered with a kind of brush made of leathery outgrowths. With their help, these amazing birds eat liquid, viscous food: lick tree sap, drink flower nectar and tropical fruit juice. The beak of the lorievs is similar to the beak of the seed-eating parrots we are used to, but in reality it is much weaker. Such a parrot sits on the inflorescence of a plant, mercilessly bites the flower and licks off the sweet liquid, while being covered with pollen from head to toe. In Australia, New Guinea and the numerous islands of the Pacific Ocean, trees and shrubs on which lorises feast are strewn with flowers, and parrots are not able to spoil everything. Along with insects, they contribute to the pollination of plants. Scientists suggest that birds and plants have adapted to each other for about thirty million years, eventually forming strong mutually beneficial bonds.

In addition to berries, fruits and nectar, lorises diversify their menu with juicy flower petals, young leaves, and sometimes small insects, such as soft hairless caterpillars.

Getting to know some lorises

According to some data, there are 58, according to others - 70 species of loria parrots, which are part of 11 (or 16) genera. These birds range from 18 to 40 centimeters in length. Smaller species with elongated wedge-shaped tails are commonly referred to as lorikeets. They are excellent flyers. Parrots of the genus Lorius have short and wide, rounded tails and prefer to stay in the thick of tree branches. Representatives of the genera Eos and Pseudeos have intermediate tails.

The Dutch word "lori" means "clown", and these parrots were named so for a reason. The birds are painted remarkably bright and juicy, as if they were dressed up for a carnival. Oddly enough, such a catchy coloring disguises a parrot feeding among the leaves and flowers. Variously colored plumage areas seem to divide the body into fragments.

The most terrible enemy for feathered "clowns" is snakes, in particular large tree pythons, which react not so much to the colors of the surrounding world as to the movement and smell of a potential victim.

Most often in domestic zoo corners there is a multicolored, or rainbow, lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus), an inhabitant of multi-tiered tropical and eucalyptus forests. Ornithologists count 21-22 subspecies of this bird. The territory of its distribution is vast: the north and east of Australia, the Moluccas, part of the Sunda Islands, the islands of New Guinea, New Caledonia, the New Hebrides and Bismarck archipelagos. The subspecies differ in the peculiarities of the color of individual plumage areas. The iris of the eyes is red, in the female it is lighter, with an orange tint. The length of the birds is 26-33 centimeters.

Of all the subspecies of the multicolored lorikete, two usually fall into Europe. The first has a dark blue head, a yellow cervical stripe, a red chest area, the feathers of which have a black and blue border, a greenish belly, yellow with green stripes plumage of the tail and legs. This parrot lives in the New Hebrides archipelago.

The second subspecies, mountain multicolored lorikeet, is distinguished by a blue color of the abdomen, a greenish-yellow neck stripe, pure green shins and undertail, a red chest area, the sides of which are orange. Its area of ​​distribution is the east of Australia and Tasmania.

No less famous, but more rare parrots are wide-tailed lorises. There are eight types of them. We will mention only the yellow-backed, purple-capped and ladies' ones. The first lives in the northern and middle Moluccas, the second - in the southern, the third - in New Guinea and nearby small islands. They are about the size of a jackdaw, that is, about 30 centimeters in length. The beaks are orange-red, around the eyes there is a narrow gray ring of bare skin. These amazingly beautiful birds look like this. Yellow-backed loris (Lorius garrula). The main color of the plumage is bright red. The shins are green. On the upper back there is a triangular yellow spot. The wings are olive green, their folds are yellow. The end of the tail is green with a purple tint. The purple-capped loris (L. domicella) is also mostly red. A yellow stripe runs across the goiter. The top of the head is black with a purple tint. The plumage of the lower legs is blue. The wings are olive green, blue at the folds. The end of the tail is blackish. Ladies Lori (L. Lori). There is a black "cap" on the head. The flanks of the head, occiput, throat, flanks of the body, lower back and upper tail coverts are red. The upper back, goiter, chest, belly and lower tail coverts are blue. The red plumage of the head, throat and occiput is separated from the red plumage of the sides of the body by a blue transverse stripe running from the goiter to the upper back. The wings are green above. The tail is red, dark blue at the end.

All these parrots are especially demanding on feeding and are very thermophilic. But with proper, caring care, they live for a long time, strongly attached to a person. Even adult birds caught in nature are easily tamed when kept alone. In their ability to imitate human speech, they surpass not only other species of lorises and lorikeets, but also most large and medium-sized parrots (with the exception of the gray and some Amazons). The red loris (Eos bornea) is an amazingly beautiful, bright bird. Lives in the Moluccas and Kai Islands. This is a graceful, slender parrot of a brilliant red color (body feathers at the base are white). The primary wing feathers are black with red "mirrors", and the secondary ones are red with black tips. Large wing coverts (in the back area) - blue with black. The undertail and the stripe from it to the legs are black and blue. The brown eyes are surrounded by a strip of bluish-gray skin. The bill is dark orange in males and light orange in females. The latter have a slightly smaller head, more rounded and neat in shape. The length of the birds is about 30 centimeters. The scientific name (Eos) was given to the parrot in honor of the ancient Greek goddess of the morning dawn Eos (aka Aurora). The dark loris (Pseudeos fuscata) is widespread in New Guinea. This parrot was sold at the Moscow Bird Market in July this year. The main color of the plumage is olive brown, the bird is very beautiful. The beak is reddish orange. On the crown of the head there is a large straw-yellow spot. Around the neck there is a yellow-orange ribbon, along the chest there is a second such ribbon, but darker, more orange. The belly and thighs are red. The undertail is blue. In the mid-1980s, a dark loris lived in one of the enclosures of the Moscow Zoo, which "made friends" (or rather, formed a pair) with a red-headed arata, a completely unrelated parrot brought from South America. These loners were pushed towards rapprochement by the extraordinary sociability characteristic of any species of parrots. The birds spent all their time together, snuggled up and tenderly fingered each other's feathers. But they ate from different feeders: the aratinga nibbled the grains, and the loris lapped a sweet mixture of honey and compote.

Sweet tooth and sluts

Hardly anyone will remain indifferent, looking at loris parrots. But in our country, as in many others, these beautiful birds are rare inhabitants of domestic zoo corners. They do not tolerate long-term transportation due to difficulties in feeding and a faster metabolism than other parrots. Two more circumstances hinder the wide distribution of lorikeets and lorises among amateurs. One is that lorises, like all birds that eat soft and wet food, have liquid droppings. The parrot quickly stains the bottom of the cage, the lattice, the perch, and sometimes the wall of the room closest to his dwelling. And not only with excrement, but also with food splashes. It is better to cover the metal or easily washable plastic tray of the cage with paper, pressing it on top with a coarse mesh (without it, the parrot will quickly tear the paper to shreds). You have to change this bedding daily. Some loris owners put a layer of large sawdust on the pallet.

Another negative circumstance: most lorises and lorikeets, if something bothers them, emit loud and piercing squeaky cries, which only the most patient bird lovers can endure.

The main component of the diet of red, broad-tailed and dark lorises is liquid porridge such as Baby-Papa, Baby-mix, Frutolino, consisting of semolina, fruits, vitamins, wheat or rice flour in the form of flakes. It does not require boiling, it is simply diluted with hot water. A little sugar (preferably fruit), honey, fruit and carrot juices, rosehip syrup, any preserves made from homemade preparations (especially red and black currants rubbed with sugar) are added to the gruel. Here you can also add calcium gluconate and glycerophosphate powder, and once a week - one or two drops of a water-soluble multivitamin for birds. Condensed milk should not be included in the mixture, otherwise it will quickly sour.

To protect the bird from digestive upset during the hot season, it is recommended to give liquid feed in small portions two to three times a day.

Loris eat apples, pears, grapes, bananas, grapefruits, any garden berries well. They can be offered slices of boiled chicken, dried white bread dipped in sweet tea or a solution of honey, and soft food for insectivorous birds (grated carrots with finely chopped boiled egg and chopped white breadcrumbs). In spring, parrots are given branches of blossoming willow and fruit trees with opened buds, the first rosettes of a dandelion, and in summer - sweet heads of flowering clover and wood lice. Lorises have to get used to soaked grains of wheat and corn for a long time.

Multicolor lorikets quickly get used to grain feed (sunflower, oats, oatmeal, white canary seed), which eventually becomes the basis of the diet. But they, like all brush-tongued parrots, need to be given cereals, honey, fruits, juices.

When kept in cramped cages, lorises usually do not go down to the floor; food is taken from a perch or hanging on a grate. In more spacious dwellings, they descend to the floor, but reluctantly. Considering this, it is best to locate the feeder near the perch.

The well-being of a bird largely depends on the size of its home and on how it is equipped. The ability to climb a variety of perches, ladders and trapezoids is even more important for these parrots than the ability to fly. In cramped conditions, lorises and lorikets feel oppressed.

Life in the wild and in the aviary

In their behavior and lifestyle, lorises are broadly similar to granivorous parrots of the same size. They live in pairs or flocks in forest areas. Dexterously climb the branches, using both paws and beak. They nest in the hollows of tall trees. Most species have only two eggs in a clutch.

All lorises are very fond of swimming. If it is not possible to provide them with a suitable bathing suit, you can gradually accustom the birds to spraying with a spray bottle.

Brush-tongued parrots living in spacious rooms can reproduce with good care and feeding. Their breeding has already been mastered in the USA and Western Europe. The easiest way to get offspring is from a multi-colored lorikete: it is enough to provide a couple with a large cage measuring 150 x 70 x 70 centimeters. The nest house is made of boards or plywood, its height is 45-50, the bottom area is 30 x 30, and the diameter of the taphole is 8-10 centimeters. More willingly, lorikeets and lorises inhabit hollow-tree nests from a hollow tree trunk. A 5-7-centimeter layer of peat mixed with sawdust is poured at the bottom of the nest. Birds love to spend the night in the house, so it should be cleaned more often.

The female lorikeet incubates eggs for 23-25 ​​days. Parents feed the chicks for 7-8 weeks, after which they leave the nest, and after another 2-3 weeks they begin to eat on their own.

Young lorikeets have a shorter tail than their parents, and the beak is not pure red. Captive-born multicolored lorikeets are easily tamed and learn to "speak" well. This is how they differ from adults caught in nature. Unfortunately, it is adult lorikeets that can be purchased at the Bird Market. They are kept in pairs or groups. These birds have a calm disposition, so they get along well with cockatiels and budgerigars.

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White-bellied parrots (lat.Pionites)

White-bellied parrots (lat. Pionites) are a genus of birds of the parrot family.


The characteristic features of parrots of this genus are: stocky build, short and rounded tail, feathered bridle. They have pure white plumage on the chest and abdomen. The upper and lower beak are rather large and strongly rounded.


They live in South America in the Amazon basin.


They inhabit dense tropical forests. They feed on fruits, seeds of various plants, sometimes they can do harm, destroying rice crops in the fields.


The genus includes 2 types:

  • Red-headed white-bellied parrot Pionites leucogaster (Kuhl, 1820)
  • Black-headed white-bellied parrot Pionites melanocephala (Linnaeus, 1758)

They are very sociable and funny parrots. It is better to feed them fresh fruits, vegetables and grains.

Kalita (Latin Myiopsitta monachus)

Kalita (Latin Myiopsitta monachus) is a bird of the parrot family. The only species of the genus Myiopsitta.


Body length 27-30 cm, wings 14-15 cm, weight 100 g. Plumage color is green, breast is pale greenish-gray with transverse green stripes. The neck on the underside and the front of the head are gray, the wings are dark brown, the flight feathers are blue. The undertail is yellowish-green. The beak is thick, straw-colored and strongly curved. The iris is brown. The tail is stepped, longer than the wing, legs are short. It is almost impossible to distinguish the female from the male, both sexes are colored the same, the female is smaller than the male.


It lives in Paraguay, southern Brazil, Uruguay, and northern Argentina.


They inhabit steppes and deciduous forests, along the slopes of mountains up to an altitude of 100 m above sea level. They lead a gregarious lifestyle. There are 200-500 parrots in a flock. Such flocks can harm agricultural land, destroying crops of wheat, corn, millet and other cereals in the fields. Local residents destroy them or catch them for sale.


They nest in swampy areas. Large, round nests (up to 3 m in diameter and up to 2 kg in weight) are built on trees from branches or occupy other people's nests of large birds. Several pairs of parrots build one nest with multiple entrances. The process of building such a settlement is quite simple: one pair of birds begins building their nest, the other, using it as one of the supports for the wall or base of their future dwelling, etc. The bird's entrance is usually located on the side, sometimes at the bottom. The construction of the nest takes quite a long time, sometimes up to 3 months. In the cold season, they spend the night in these nests. In the clutch there are 5-8 white eggs, after 22-26 days chicks appear, and by 6-7 weeks of age the chicks fly out of the nest. Some pairs nest 2 times a year, and the nest itself has been used for several years.


They appeared in Europe about 130 years ago. These parrots are not ideal birds for keeping, because they often and loudly scream. Life expectancy is 15 to 30 years.


The species includes 4 subspecies:

  • Myiopsitta monachus monachus (Boddaert, 1783) - southeastern Brazil, Uruguay and northeastern Argentina. Body length 30 cm, wingspan 145-160 mm.Nominal subspecies.
  • Myiopsitta monachus calita (Jardine & Selby, 1830) - western and southern Argentina. Body length 27 cm, wingspan 135-145 mm.
  • Myiopsitta monachus cotorra (Vieillot, 1818) - southeastern Bolivia, Paraguay, northern Argentina and southern Brazil. Body length 27 cm, wingspan 130-145 mm
  • Myiopsitta monachus luchsi (Finsch, 1868) is an isolated population in Bolivia. Body length 30 cm, wingspan 145-165 mm.

Red-breasted grass parrot (lat.Neophema splendida)

The red-breasted grass parrot (Latin Neophema splendida) is a bird of the parrot family.


Body length 22 cm, tail 17 cm. It is the most beautiful and striking representative of this genus. The male has a shiny blue head, the throat and frenulum are purple, the belly and lower part of the tail are yellow, the chest is bright red, the back and tail are green. Flight feathers are black with blue outer webs. The wing coverts are blue. Flesh-colored feet. The beak is black. The entire plumage of this bird is shiny, as if glossy. The female has a dull color.


Lives in the south of Australia (southeast of Western Australia, south of Queensland, west of New South Wales, northwest of Victoria).


Inhabited by scrub, acacia savannas and grassy plains. Sometimes these parrots are found in cultivated landscapes - in gardens and farms. They feed on the ground with grass seeds. From April to August they keep in flocks of 5 to 20 individuals, and later scatter in search of nesting places.


They nest in hollows, grooves and voids of trunks and branches of low trees and bushes in September-October. In clutch there are 3-6 white eggs incubated by one female. Chicks hatch in 19-20 days and leave the nest in 25-28 days. Parents feed them for some time.

Threats and security

Rare. The number of the species decreased both as a result of the deterioration of habitats and the capture of the birds themselves. Formally protected in Australia.

Azure grass parrot (lat.Neophema pulchella)

The azure grass parrot (lat.Neophema pulchella) is a bird of the parrot family.


Body length 22 cm, tail 11 cm. Coloring of males is bright. The upper side of the body is colored dark green, and the lower is egg-yellowish. The head and small wing coverts are azure blue, and the shoulder feathers are brick red. There is a red stripe on the wings, the central tail and flight feathers are dark blue. Their legs are pink. The beak is dark gray. The coloration of females is more modest. The main color of her plumage is dark green. The lower part of the body is dirty yellow-green in color. Only the narrow front part of the head around the beak and "eyebrow" is azure color, but not as bright as that of the male. And the narrow stripe along the fold of the wings is less bright, and the red spot at the upper fold of the wing is completely absent. In addition, on the inner side of the wings (unfolded), the female has a white stripe formed by spots on the inner side of the wing feathers.


It is found in South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales.


They keep in semi-steppe areas, rich in grassy vegetation. They feed on seeds of wild grasses. They fly fast and well, move very quickly and dexterously on the ground.


They nest in tree hollows and hollow stumps. The nesting chamber is often located at a depth of up to 1.5 m from the entrance to the hollow. Females lay 4 to 8 eggs. Incubation lasts 18-20 days, the male does not take part in it. He only feeds the female sitting on the nest. Juveniles leave the nest in 25-28 days, but the parents feed them for another 2-3 weeks.


They appeared in Europe at the end of the 18th century. By its nature, it is a very calm bird. His voice is a quiet chirping, with rare quarrels - a quiet chirping or creak.

Loris, or lori (lat.Loriinae)

Loris, or loris (lat.Loriinae) - a subfamily of parrots. Some taxonomists distinguish Loriidae as a separate family.


Small, brightly colored in all colors of the rainbow, tree parrots.


They live in Australia, New Guinea, eastern Indonesia and the Philippines.


They feed mainly on pollen and nectar (from about 5000 varieties of flowers), as well as soft, juicy fruits. Their tongue ends with a brush from the horny papillae. With their help, birds suck juice from fruits and nectar from flowers.


They nest in tree hollows, several species in termite mounds.


The subfamily is divided into 12 genera, including 62 species.

  • Genus White-backed lorises Pseudeos
  • White-backed Lori Pseudeos fuscata
  • Genus Brilliant Lori Chalcopsitta
  • Shiny lory brown Chalcopsitta duivenbodei
  • Shiny Lori Cardinal Chalcopsitta cardinalis
  • Shiny red-faced loris Chalcopsitta sintillata
  • Shiny black lori Chalcopsitta atra
  • Genus Maiden Lori Vini
  • Hermit Lori ruby ​​Vini kuhlii
  • Blue-capped hermit lori Vini australi
  • Hermit Lori blue Vini peruviana
  • Hermit Lori ultramarine Vini ultramarina
  • Lori the Hermit Hendersons Vini stepheni
  • Genus Wedge-tailed lorikeets Psitteuteles
  • Lorikeet Goldie Psitteuteles goldiei
  • Lorikeet streaked Psitteuteles versicolor
  • Lorikeet blue-eared Psitteuteles iris
  • Genus Red Lori Eos
  • Blue-red lori Eos histrio
  • Red lori Eos bornea
  • Red loris semi-masked Eos semilarvata
  • Red loris blue-eared Eos reticulata
  • Red loris black-winged Eos cyanogenia
  • Red lory scaly Eos squamata
  • Genus Lori-gua Neopsittacus
  • Lori-gua yellow-billed Neopsittacus musschenbroekii
  • Lori-gua emerald Neopsittacus pullicauda
  • Genus Loriketa Trichoglossus
  • Lorikeet cherry red Trichoglossus rubiginosus
  • Lorikeet Johnston Trichoglossus johnstoniae
  • Yellow-headed lorikeet Trichoglossus euteles
  • Lorikeet yellow-green Trichoglossus flavoviridis
  • Lorikeet multicolor Trichoglossus haematodus
  • Lorikeet decorated with Trichoglossus ornatus
  • Lorikeet scaly-chested Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus
  • Genus Laurie Hermits Phigys
  • Hermit Lori Phigys solitarius
  • Genus Musk Lorikeets Glossopsitta
  • Musk lorikeet Glossopsitta concinna
  • Crowned musky lorikeet Glossopsitta porphyrocephala
  • Musk lorikeet tiny Glossopsitta pusilla
  • Genus New Guinea mountain lorises Oreopsittacus
  • New Guinea Mountain Lory Oreopsittacus arfaki
  • Genus Decorated Lorises Charmosyna
  • Decorated Lori Wilhelmina Charmosyna wilhelminae
  • † Lori Embellished Diadem Charmosyna diadema
  • Decorated Lori Josephine Charmosyna josefinae
  • Decorated lori gold-striped Charmosyna pulchella
  • Decorated Lori red-sided Charmosyna placentis
  • Decorated Lori redbeard Charmosyna rubrigularis
  • Decorated Lori red-throated Charmosyna aureicincta
  • Decorated Lori red-faced Charmosyna rubronotata
  • Decorated Lori Margarita Charmosyna margarethae
  • Decorated Lori Meeka Charmosyna meeki
  • Decorated lori multi-stripe Charmosyna multistriata
  • Decorated Laurie palm Charmosyna palmarum
  • Decorated Papuan Lori Charmosyna papou
  • Decorated lori blue-fronted Charmosyna toxopei
  • Genus Broad-tailed loris Lorius
  • Wide-tailed white-necked loris Lorius albidinuchus
  • Broad-tailed loris yellow-backed Lorius garrulus
  • Green-tailed loris Lorius chlorocercus
  • Wide-tailed lory purple-bellied Lorius hypoinochrous
  • Wide-tailed loris purple-capped Lorius domicella
  • Wide-tailed lory black-capped Lorius lory

Lovebirds (Latin Agapornis)

Lovebirds (lat. Agapornis) are a genus of birds of the parrot family.


Small parrots, body length 16-17 cm, wings 10 cm, and tail 5 cm, weight 40-60 g. Their head is relatively large. The color of the plumage is mainly green, but some parts of the body, uppertail, chest, head, neck and throat can have a different color - pink, red, blue, yellow and other colors. The beak is thick, very curved and strong. With their beak, they can seriously injure even a person. The color of the beak in some species is bright red, in others it is straw-yellow. The tail is short and rounded, the legs are also short, but the parrots are very agile, run well on the ground and climb trees perfectly.


They live in Africa and Madagascar.


They live in tropical and subtropical forests, there are steppe and mountain species. They lead a gregarious lifestyle. They fly very well and quickly. They spend the night in the trees. Sometimes they conflict with other flocks that have flown to already occupied trees.


They nest in tree hollows, making only bedding in the hollow, sometimes females build nests. They are pretty good builders. Blades of grass, twigs of various trees and pieces of bark are used as materials for construction. They transfer the building material to the construction site in different ways: some species are in their beaks, others - by thrusting it under the feathers of the chest, loins and wing coverts.

The clutch contains from 4 to 8 eggs, which are incubated by the female. After 3-3.5 weeks, chicks appear, they fly out of the nest in 42-56 days, but the parents still continue to care for and feed them. During this period, the male and the female are very affectionate towards each other, attentive and caring to the chicks.

Since ancient times, these parrots have been called lovebirds, since they believed that when one bird dies, the other soon dies of melancholy, but this is not entirely true. After the death of one bird, after a while, the male or female will find a partner.


The genus includes 9 species:

  • Collared lovebird (Agapornis swindernianus)
  • Liliana's lovebird (Agapornis lilianae)
  • Masked lovebird (Agapornis personatus)
  • Red-faced lovebird (Agapornis pullarius)
  • Pink-faced lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis)
  • Gray-headed lovebird (Agapornis canus)
  • Fisher's lovebird (Agapornis fischeri
  • Black-winged lovebird (Agapornis taranta)
  • Black-faced lovebird (Agapornis nigrigenis)

Genus Broad-tailed lorises

Genus Wide-tailed lorises - Lorius - includes parrots with a body length of 26-30 cm, which inhabit
in the Moluccas and Solomon Islands, as well as the smaller islands of the region. Broad-tailed lorises inhabit the tropical forests of the plains and foothills, and are found on coconut plantations. They feed on nectar, fruits, berries, small insects.

Nests are arranged in tree hollows, high above the ground. There are 2 eggs in a clutch. The incubation period is from 24 to 30 days. Juveniles leave the nest in 70-80 days.

The genus includes 6 species.

* White-necked broad-tailed loris (Lorius albidinuchus)
* Green-tailed loris (Lorius chlorocercus)
* Purple-capped broad-tailed loris (Lorius domicella)
* Yellow-backed broad-tailed loris (Lorius garrulus)
* Purple-bellied broad-tailed loris (Lorius hypoinochrous)
* Black-capped broad-tailed lory (Lorius lory)