The reign of the rainbow lorikeet continues with results from BirdLife Australia’s fifth annual Aussie Backyard Bird Count revealing one of Australia’s most colourful birds is still Australia’s most common backyard bird.
For the fifth consecutive year Australians headed into their backyards and local green spaces, this year counting more than 2.7 million birds including over 305,000 rainbow lorikeets.
Often seen in large, rowdy flocks, the rainbow lorikeet is unmistakable with its dazzlingly colourful plumage, making it easy for people to identify in backyards right across the country.
While the species is ubiquitous today, this hasn’t always been the case. In some parts of Australia, such as around Melbourne, the rainbows were driven out as the urban areas expanded, and even when they were still common in the bush, they were largely absent from our cities.
According to BirdLife Australia’s Chief Bird Nerd Sean Dooley, the rise of the rainbow lorikeet highlights the changes in Aussie backyards over the past half century, with traditional European-style cottage gardens making way for lush native backyards which provide the perfect place for these nectar-loving birds to forage on the flowers of eucalypts, bottle-brushes and grevilleas to harvest nectar and pollen.
“When Australians see a rainbow lorikeet, they are seeing a living, breathing example of how much our backyards have changed over the past few decades, and how the choices we make as to how we use the land—even in an urban setting—always has an impact on nature. If more Australians were to choose native plants for their backyards, we will continue to see rainbow lorikeets and other native species increase in number,” Sean Dooley said.
“However, the trend for larger homes with less diverse, ‘low maintenance’ gardens will do little to help our remaining native wildlife.”
More than 76,000 nature-loving Australians took time out from their busy schedules to count more than 2.7 million birds, recording 610 species, with the rainbow lorikeet, noisy miner and Australian magpie remaining Australia’s most counted birds
For full results visit aussiebirdcount.org.au.
Top 20 birds counted during 2018 #AussieBirdCount
Total birds counted to date: 2,751,113
Total checklists submitted: 84,039
Species Total number counted
Rainbow Lorikeet 305,246
Noisy Miner 149,872
Australian Magpie 121,107
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo 100,848
House Sparrow 86,032
Silver Gull 70,606
Common Myna 58,091
Welcome Swallow 55,996
Red Wattlebird 52,657
Crested Pigeon 51,655
Little Corella 50,323
Australian White Ibis 49,049
New Holland Honeyeater 44,584
Common Starling 42,676
Australian Raven 39,964
Spotted Dove 38,409
Australian Wood Duck 38,054
Superb Fairy-wren 37,884