Trichoglossus moluccanus J. F. Gmelin, 1788

Rainbow Lorikeet, Swainson's Lorikeet or blue mountain lorikeet   

Subspecies and Distribution:

Two subspecies recognized.

Trichoglossus moluccanus moluccanus (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – NE, E & SE Australia (from NE Queensland to SE South Australia, including Kangaroo Island); vagrant in Tasmania. Feral population in Perth (Western Australia).

Trichoglossus moluccanus septentrionalis (Robinson, 1900) – N Queensland (Cape York Peninsula), in NE Australia; also Torres Strait islands (except Boigu and Saibai, in extreme N).

Proposed race eyrei (from South Australia) is included within nominate.

Not globally threatened. CITES II

Trichoglossus moluccanus moluccanus

rainbow, swainson or blue mountain lorikeet


  • Length: 30 cm (11,8 inch)
  • Weight: 105-185 gr.

The head is blue almost violet, shaft-streaked with lighter blue, abdomen is deep purple-blue.

Nuchal collar is yellowish green.

The breast is variable with orange (or red) and yellow at the sides of the orange.

Usually without barrings, but can have a few very small ones.

Underwing coverts are orange, tinged with yellow.

The upperside including the wings and tail are green.

Beak is orange-red.

Feet, cere and skin surrounding the eyes dark grey.


very common, the most kept species and very easy to breed.


6 -7 mm


There are many mutations from this species, fallow, faded, rec. greygreen, pied (rec. and dom.), blue-fronted, blue, turquoise, aqua, jade (misty), dilute, black-headed,opaline,... . And some trans-mutations from the scaly-breasted lorikeet as the lutino and dom. greygreen.

Trichoglossus moluccanus septentrionalis

Northern moluccan lorikeet or Northern blue-bellied lorikeet


As in moluccanus, but brighter and purer blue of the head and abdomen ; shorter tail.

So a little smaller then the nominate.

Not sure if it's still a valid subspecies, as I have seen groups with some lighter blue and other with darker blue, so variable or mixed with the nominate.


Probably none, or crossed back to the nominate, as most don't even know there is a subspecies.


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