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Vini ultramarina

Common Name: Ultramarine Lorikeet

Range: Marquesas Islands (montane forests of Uapou and Nukuhiva)

Vini ultramarina
  • general plumage blue; crown violet-blue shaft-streaked paler blue; lores and upper cheeks white; lower cheeks, ear-coverts, throat and abdomen dark violet-blue with broad white edging; dark violet-blue band to breast; thighs violet-blue; upper tail-coverts and lower back pale blue; tail upper pale blue with whitish tips, underside whitish; skin to narrow periophthalmic ring grey; iris orange; feet flesh-colored; bill orange with blackish tips.
  • Female as male.
  • Immatures with dark bill (adult color attained at six months); scattered white edging to ear-coverts, breast and abdomen; feet orange-brown; iris dark.
  • Length: 18 cm
  • Status: endangered by forest clearance, avian malaria and introduced mammals; total population only several hundred pairs.
  • Marquesas Islands of Ua Pou, Nuku Hiva und Ua Huka; introduced to Ua Huka.
  • Habitat: montane forest between 500 m and 1000 m; prefers forest margin; occasionally visits gardens, flowering trees, banana and coconut plantations in coastal areas.
  • active and comparatively quiet lory; shy and anxious; disappears into nest box on approach of attendant; susceptible; sudden death without discernible cause; keep at least at 24°C during acclimatization period.
  • Breeding behavior: breeding period from June to August; nest holes in hollow trees or coconut palms, fissures in palms or rotting coconuts still attached to tree; occasionally also abandoned nests of finches or other birds; egg measures 22.6 x 18.6 mm.
  • Breeding in aviculture: seldom achieved; clutch usually 2 eggs; incubation period unknown; fledging period 8 weeks; in one case young not reared; ensure sufficient humidity and calcium requirement met; possibly susceptible to egg-binding in captivity.
Social Behavior
  • in pairs or groups of up to 12 birds outside breeding season; found in flowering trees; mostly in tops of trees, less often in lower branches or bushes; climbs around in the branches to reach flowers and fruit; noisy and restless; can be approached when feeding; flight swift and direct; accompanied by shrill contact cries; usually flies at or just below treetop level, but also at considerable height for longer flights.
  • quiet inside flight 4 x 2 x 2 m; minimum temperature 20°C; outside flight only recommended on warm summer days; strict hygiene necessary in flight; roosting box 15 x 15 x 40 cm.
  • lory nectar, pollen, brewer's yeast, oat flakes, multi-grain mix, vitamin and mineral supplements; regular vitamin C; various soft fruits, especially mango, banana and grape; occasionally small quantities of boiled egg; spiders, mealworms and other insects; regular supply of fresh branches with flowers, buds and leaves.
  • Natural diet: pollen, nectar, flowers, berries, buds and soft fruits; occasionally insects and their larvae; flocks to feed off mango trees in gardens.