Lorius garrulus Linnaeus, 1758

chattering lory             

Subspecies and distribution:

Lorius garrulus garrulus (Linnaeus, 1758) – Halmahera and Widi Island.


Lorius garrulus morotaianus (van Bemmel, 1940) – Morotai and Rau, in N Moluccas.

Lorius garrulus flavopalliatus (Salvadori, 1877) – Kasiruta, Bacan, Obilatu and Obi.



This species is undergoing a rapid population decline that is projected to continue as a direct result of habitat loss and human exploitation for the cagebird trade.

This is the most popular bird exported from east Indonesia, largely owing to its strong imitative abilities.

They probably will be on cites 1 list soon.


A healthy population occurs in 167,300 ha of forest at Lalobata and Ake Tajawe on Halmahera which was declared a national park in 2004, although illegal logging and bird trapping have continued.

Since August 2007, a project has been aiming to effectively manage the protected area, by building capacity for effective management, monitoring illegal trade and raising public awareness and support (Anon 2008).

Recently, some trapped birds being confiscated and now released in the wild. But they didn't check which subspecies they are, so now the purity of the subspecies will also be in danger.

Lorius garrulus garrulus

chattering lory


  • Length: 30 cm (11,8 inch)
  • Weight:180-250g.

Mainly red, the mantle is a darker shade of red, and is sometimes marked with a few yellow feathers.

Wings and thighs are green.

Bend of the wing and underwing coverts are yellow.

The underside of the primaries have a broad pinkish-red band.

The tail is red above with dark greenish upper tail coverts.

The underside of the tail is pale-red tinged with golden-yellow, undertail coverts are red.

Orange beak , with at the base of the upper mandible grey.

Feet , skin around the eye and cere are grey.

Iris is orange.


no mutation in the nominate that I know, only in the subspecies flavopalliatus.


Very regulary we see a marroon colored bird, which change the green and yellow to a dark-red color (marroon). As this happen at later age mostly adult we don't can it a mutation as they are born normal. Mostly males got this problem, but sometimes females also can change, and even immature females. It is probably something hormonal, but does not affect any problem with breeding. This is very common in all lorius species.


rare to uncommon.


7 - 8 mm

Skins in museum:

Skin in museum

Lorius garrulus morotaianus

Morotai Yellow-backed Chattering Lory


Another very doubtfull subspecies.

The yellow patch on the mantle is duller and smaller then the flavopalliatus. But the flavopalliatus don't have always a very big yellow patch, and the nominate also can have some yellow feathers on the back.

The wings are darker green, which we see in the picture from Andrey.

Photo from Gert Van Dooren, taken in the National Musea in Tring (UK). This is the only skin in Europe of this subspecies (morotaianus).

The first 4 birds are Lorius garrulus garrulus, (look at the size difference and the amount of yellow!).

The fifth is the bird from Morotai, the size is between the biggest and smallest, from the other members, no difference in green colour.

And the last 5 birds are flavopalliatus, a big difference in size, the birds from Obi island are much smaller then the other members from this subspecies.

A skin in Brasil is bigger then the nominate or flavopalliatus according Andrey Naves, and messure 33cm (13inch). (see picture below). 

So 2 birds 2 different sizes, can we then say it really is a subspecies?

I am now trying to find some photos from the wild, to see if there is any difference, unfortunally I haven't found any yet.

Any way the recent confiscated Lorius garrulus subspecies who are released in to the wild on Morotai, which are different subspecies does not help the purity of the wild , if  it's really a subspecies.


Some claim they have the morotaianus, but as you can see the skins , they probably belong to the nominate or flavopalliatus.

The first is a Lorius garrulus flavopalliatus, the second Lorius garrulus morotaianus, and the thirth Lorius garrulus garrulus. photo from Andrey Naves.  Here is the opposite , here is the morotai the biggest. But what we see here is some darker green on the wings.

Lorius garrulus flavopalliatus

Yellow-backed lory


As nominate but with the largest yellow spot on the back.

A very big difference in size, certainly the ones from Obi are very small the 2 birds on the right, as you can see above in the picture of the skins from Gert Van Dooren.




Some mutations have being occured.

Patrick Tay from Singapore had 2 wildcaught yellow mutations in the '90s. ,The green was pure yellow,with black eyes and dark feet. a blackeyed clear.

He also had an olive color with beige feet which he sold to a breeder in Taiwan, not sure if this bird is still alive and have breed.

In America, Chris Touchton also bred a mutation, probably a fallow, at the moment she have 4 birds in this color so probably this mutation will stay in aviculture.


7 - 8 mm

Bird trapping is still going on in large numbers , all for Asian markets. As here in Europe and other places have banded import of wild birds.

When sitting with so many in small cages the most will die.

Also the most will be kept as pet, so no breeding with this birds, then oviously the numbers drop very fast.

They also don't have the proper food, to let them stay alive for years, so they die and will be replaced.

The birds are seen in Asia as a status symbol, the more birds show how wealthy they are.


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