Bird O'clock

7 Fascinating Facts About the Blue-eared Lory

Birds are some of the most fascinating creatures on earth, with their incredible colors, songs, and behaviors. One such bird is the Blue-eared Lory or Eos semilarvata, which is a brightly-colored parrot that is found in Indonesia.

This striking bird boasts of beautiful plumage and a memorable call, making it a favorite of bird enthusiasts around the world. In this article, we will explore the identification, plumages, and molts of this species.

Identification

The Blue-eared Lory is a medium-sized parrot that measures about 31cm in length. It features a distinctive coloring, with its head and neck being dark blue while its back is bright red.

It has black-tipped wings and a tail that is predominantly blue. Also worth noting are its bare eye ring, throat, and beak, which are all bright yellow.

Its distinctive physical features make it easy to identify within its range. Field

Identification

The Blue-eared Lory is mainly found in the eastern Indonesian islands of Alor, Wetar, and Timor.

Its preferred habitat is the lowland forest, although it can be spotted in gardens and parks. When in flight, it displays bright blue underwing coverts, and its noisy calls are distinctive.

This parrot is very active and can be seen flying and feeding in orchards and gardens. A keen eye and ear can spot and identify this bird from a distance.

Similar Species

The Blue-eared Lory is closely related to the Red Lory and the Violet-necked Lory. The Red Lory has an entirely red body, whereas the Violet-necked Lory has a violet patch on its nape.

However, the Blue-eared Lory’s bare eye ring and throat distinguish it from these other lories, making identification easier.

Plumages

The Blue-eared Lory has two main plumages – the male and female. Generally, males have longer beaks and brighter plumage than their female counterparts.

The red feathers on their back are brighter, and the blue feathers are more pronounced.

Molts

The Blue-eared Lory undergoes an annual molt, where it sheds its feathers and grows new ones. Both males and females molt.

During the molt, their feathers can become ragged and frayed, resulting in a duller appearance. However, after the molt is complete, their feathers come out clean and shiny, restoring their bright and attractive appearance.

In Conclusion,

The Blue-eared Lory is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular parrot species in existence. With its beautiful colors, bare areas, and distinctive calls, it’s easy to spot and identify.

Whether observed flying in pairs or flocks or feeding in lush gardens, this bird will undoubtedly leave you mesmerized with its beauty and distinct charm. As the saying goes, seeing is believing, and with this bird, your eyes will undoubtedly do the talking.

Systematics History

The Blue-eared Lory, or Eos semilarvata, is a species of parrot that belongs to the family Psittacidae. This species was first described by natural historian Coenraad Jacob Temminck in 1835, based on a specimen he had obtained from Java.

The scientific name Eos, which is Greek for “dawn,” refers to the bird’s colorful plumage. Over the years, there have been many revisions to the classification of this species based on geographic variation, subspecies, and related species.

Geographic Variation

The Blue-eared Lory is native to the eastern Indonesian islands of Alor, Roti, Wetar, and Timor. These islands are located in the Lesser Sunda Islands and are part of Wallacea, a biogeographic region that referred to the transitional zone between the Asian and Australian faunas.

Within this range, there is evident geographic variation in the Blue-eared Lory population.

Subspecies

Currently, there is one recognized subspecies of the Blue-eared Lory, Eos semilarvata semilarvata, which is distributed throughout the species range. This subspecies is characterized by its blue head, dark blue throat and breast, bright red back, and black-tipped wings and tail.

The bare eye ring, throat, and beak are all yellow. The female Blue-eared Lory has relatively duller plumage than the male, with less blue and red.

There has been some debate about the existence of a second subspecies, Eos semilarvata regina, found in the Tanimbar Islands, but this has not been officially recognized.

Related Species

The Blue-eared Lory is closely related to other species in the genus Eos, including the Red Lory (Eos bornea) and the Violet-necked Lory (Eos squamata). These three species are sometimes referred to as ‘Squamata Lories.’ The Violet-necked Lory is characterized by a violet patch on its nape and a blue-green head, while the Red Lory has an entirely red body.

Despite these differences, these species share several features, such as the yellow eye ring and throat and the blue underwing coverts.

Historical Changes to Distribution

The distributional history of the Blue-eared Lory is not well understood. However, studies suggest that there may have been historical changes in its distribution.

For instance, a 2015 study by Warncke and colleagues showed that the Blue-eared Lory was present on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi around 20,000 years ago. The researchers relied on DNA analysis to confirm this, as there are no known historical or current records of the species on the island.

Other studies have also suggested that the population of the Blue-eared Lory may have declined in some parts of its range, particularly on the island of Timor. A 2014 survey by Moore reported that sightings of the Blue-eared Lory on Timor had decreased significantly, and the species was now considered rare and threatened.

In Conclusion,

The Blue-eared Lory is a species of parrot that is native to the eastern Indonesian islands of Alor, Wetar, Roti, and Timor. The species displays geographic variation in its range, and one subspecies, Eos semilarvata semilarvata, is known to occur.

The Blue-eared Lory is closely related to other species in the genus Eos. The species may have experienced historical changes in its distribution, including range expansions and contractions.

These historical changes and current threats to the species highlight the importance of continued research and conservation efforts.

Habitat

The Blue-eared Lory is a parrot species native to the eastern Indonesian islands of Alor, Wetar, Roti, and Timor, where it is found in lowland forests, as well as secondary vegetation such as coconut plantations, gardens, and parks. The species also prefers areas with nearby water sources such as rivers or streams and is mostly found at elevations of up to 1000 meters above sea level.

The Blue-eared Lory feeds on nectar, pollen, fruit, and insects, and has been known to raid fruit crops such as papaya, banana, and mango. The species is agile and acrobatic, making it easily identifiable in flight, with its blue wings and long tails.

Movements and Migration

The Blue-eared Lory is a non-migratory species, and there is no evidence to suggest that it undertakes any significant movements throughout the year. However, the species may engage in some movements in search of new feeding grounds or nesting sites.

The movements can be observed in some parts of their range where there are seasonal fluctuations of food resources or human disturbance. Although they do not migrate, Blue-eared Lories do roost communally in single large trees or palm groves throughout the year.

These communal roosting sites can consist of up to 1,000 individuals, making them incredible individuals to observe during the night. There has been little research on the species movements due to the lack of tracking technology designed for small parrots.

Although studies show that breeding seasons can range from September to January, the exact timeline is still unclear.

The potential for captive breeding and the pet trade have been known to cause a demand increase of wild-caught birds, leading to over-exploitation of the species habitat and population.

Research on the species’ movements and breeding would further help conservation efforts and maintain wild populations.

Conservation Efforts

The Blue-eared Lory is currently considered a species of least concern, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. However, its populations are still at risk due to habitat loss and illegal trapping for the pet trade.

These threats are major contributors to the steady decline of the species in some areas of its range. Conservation efforts focusing on protecting the species natural habitat are key to ensuring its survival.

Programs such as habitat restoration and protection of their natural vegetation will ensure that the Blue-eared Lory’s populations are not affected by human encroachment. It is also essential to minimize the harvesting of the species for the pet trade and strengthen regulations against illegal trade.

Captive breeding programs in zoos and avian breeders can also provide an important source for preserving the species while reducing the dependence on wild populations. These programs offer a solution for the preservation of the species in a controlled setting where they can be studied in detail and contribute towards learning more about this fascinating species.

In Conclusion,

The Blue-eared Lory is a parrot species that is non-migratory and remains largely in tropical habitats, such as lowland forests, gardens, and orchards. The species feeds on nectar, pollen, and fruit, prefers areas with nearby water sources, and is mostly found at elevations up to 1000 meters above sea level.

Although captive breeding programs have gone a long way in protecting this species from over-exploitation, conservation of the Blue-eared Lory’s natural habitat and protection from illegal trade are crucial in ensuring its survival.

Diet and Foraging

The Blue-eared Lory has a diet that consists mainly of nectar, pollen, fruit, and insects. The species has a unique brush-like tongue that allows it to lap up nectar and pollen from flowers.

They also use their strong beaks to crush hard-shelled seeds and nuts. Insects and their larvae are a significant portion of their diet, with the Blue-eared Lory frequently foraging in trees and shrubs for caterpillars and beetle larvae.

Feeding

Blue-eared Lorries are active during the day and are highly social birds. As such, they can be seen foraging as individuals or in large flocks that can number in the hundreds.

They forage in fruit tree orchards and gardens, where they seek out ripe fruit, including papaya, bananas, and mangoes. They can also be seen feeding in flowering trees and shrubs, such as coral trees, coconut palms, and flowering eucalyptus.

Diet

Though similar to a number of species of parrots, the species’ diet varies given the habitats they reside in, however, their staple food remains nectars. The Blue-eared Lory’s diet also enables the bird to play an essential role as a pollinator of trees and flowering plants, one of the species’ fundamental roles in the ecosystems they inhabit.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

Blue-eared Lories, like most tropical birds, have high metabolic rates that allow them to regulate their body temperature despite the tropical heat. The species usually lowers its metabolic rate during the nighttime to protect itself from the cold.

In the daytime, the species’ high metabolic rate will typically have the birds fluff their feathers to let in air to cool down their body temperature. The ease of regulating their temperature allows them to stay active even during the hottest times of the day, making them productive and reliable pollinators.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

Blue-eared Lorries are gregarious and vocal birds, with a varied repertoire of sounds and calls. Their vocalizations have been instrumental in communication among the species, and they use it for a variety of purposes in pairs or flocks such as identifying their mates, locations of feeding sites, or establishing their territorial boundaries.

Vocalization

The species is known for its noisy chattering and low-pitched ‘chup’ notes that are distinct to the species. The Blue-eared Lory’s calls can be heard as it flies over its habitat, giving away it’s presence when they forage in groups.

Their calls may vary according to the bird’s mood and social status, but always create a distinct noise that is easily recognizable. The species is also capable of mimicking sounds, though not to the same extent as their close relatives such as parrots or cockatoos.

Their vocal repertoire is mostly limited to chirps and trilling noises, but the ability of some individuals to mimic sounds is a fascinating trait. In general, their vocalization is often reflective of the species’ collective social behavior in the wild, enabling them to thrive as a species.

In Conclusion,

The Blue-eared Lory, like many tropical birds, has adaptations to their physiology that enable them to thrive in their environment. Their brush-like tongues and strong beaks enable them to eat a varied diet ranging from fruit to insects.

The species has an efficient metabolism that allows them to regulate their body temperature and remain productive even in the hottest weather. Their noisy and varied vocalizations enable the species to communicate effectively among themselves, providing cues about feeding sites and securing territories.

Understanding the Blue-eared Lory’s natural behaviors is crucial in developing a comprehensive conservation plan that will ensure that these birds continue to thrive in their natural habitats and contribute to the ecosystems in which they exist.

Behavior

Locomotion

Blue-eared Lorries are highly active and acrobatic birds and have adaptations that enable their quick and agile movements. The species often flies in typical parrot fashion with pumping wings and undulating tails.

The Blue-eared Lory also hops, runs, and clings to branches with its zygodactyl feet, consisting of two toes forward and two backward helps them grasp onto tree branches and trunks effectively.

Self Maintenance

Like other parrots, Blue-eared Lories maintain their plumage by preening their feathers frequently. They also take baths in small shallow pools of water or rain droplets to clean themselves.

The species is known to be highly social, and within large roosting groups, allopreening occurs, allowing for the maintenance of social bonds between individuals.

Agonistic Behavior

The Blue-eared Lory is a highly social bird and can often be seen flying in large flocks. However, the birds exhibit agonistic behavior, including aggressiveness towards individuals in their territory or during competition for resources like feeders with other parrot species.

The species is capable of vocalizing its displeasure, which other members of the flock will respond to.

Sexual Behavior

The Blue-eared Lory is a monogamous species. During courtship, males perform a display known as fanning, where they fan their tail feathers and fluff their chest feathers.

Males also exhibit typical display behavior, including bobbing and bowing, while raising their wings to reveal the vivid underwing patch. The frequencies of copulation are typical of most other parrot species.

The nesting material is composed of leaves and branches, and it is the female that initiates the nesting process.

Breeding

Blue-eared Lories typically nest in tree cavities or holes in walls and stumps. The female lays two to three eggs per clutch, which are incubated for around 27-29 days.

Both the male and female assist in incubation, with the male taking the night shift. The chicks fledge about 8 weeks after hatching, and both parents continue to feed and care for them until they become independent.

Demography and Populations

The Blue-eared Lory has a stable population throughout its natural habitat. However, threats to its conservation status range from encroachment on natural habitat to being captured for the pet trade.

Experts have suggested that population trends are impacted by habitat loss, and these factors are most detrimental to the species. Meanwhile, others have suggested that disruptions of ecological factors could lead to unpredictable changes in population density.

Conservation efforts that focus on preserving their natural range and habitat within their range could aid in maintaining this species’ number and diversity. The species is typically found in forest areas, which are disappearing due to urbanization and agricultural developments.

Preserving the various habitats where Blue-eared Lories roost, forage and nest is fundamental to the species’ long-term survival. In Conclusion,

The Blue-eared Lory is a remarkable species, highly active, and capable of aerial acrobatics when foraging or evading predators.

Their social interactions are complex, and their behavior varies from courtship displays to aggressive interactions. The species is known for its monogamous pairing, and the collaborative parental roles male and female Blue-eared Lories engage in.

Their population remains stable but is at risk due to the destruction of natural habitats. By investing in conservation efforts that preserve the Blue-eared Lory’s natural range, this species can continue to be a vital component of the ecosystems in which they exist.

The Blue-eared Lory is a strikingly beautiful and unique species of parrot, known for its colorful plumage, impressive aerial abilities, and fascinating social behaviors. Through this article, we have explored several aspects of this species, including its identification, plumage, molts, geographic

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