Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 489–502 | Cite as

Rules of the roost: characteristics of nocturnal communal roosts of rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus, Psittacidae) in an urban environment

  • Alison K. JaggardEmail author
  • Narelle Smith
  • Fraser R. Torpy
  • Ursula Munro


Rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus) have successfully adapted to urban environments and are today abundant in many Australian cities. Here they often form noisy communal roosts and may damage infrastructure. While extensive studies on problem birds (mainly passeriforms) and their roosts have been conducted in other parts of the world, no detailed studies exist in Australia, where non-passeriform birds (e.g. parrots) can cause problems. This study investigates the roosting preferences of rainbow lorikeets in Sydney (Australia) and establishes the site characteristics that typify these roosts. Lorikeets preferred three exotic tree species, namely the plane tree (Platanus spp. including Platanus x hybrida), Canary Island palm (Phoenix canariensis) and Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla). They were also common in brush boxes (Lophostemon confertus), a tree native to Queensland, Australia. Rainbow lorikeets commonly roosted in tall trees with thick trunks and medium density foliage and the trees next to their roost trees were of the same species. Roosting trees were often in areas of high anthropogenic disturbance and close to streetlights.


Communal roosting Urban ecology Rainbow lorikeet Roost tree Roost site characteristics Urbanisation 



This manuscript is dedicated to the memory of Narelle Smith, who sadly passed away in November 2012. Her help and enthusiasm for this research was invaluable. We also thank Ed Lidums of UTS for statistical assistance, Rod Buckney, Andrew C. Smith and Katherine Grant for technical and field assistance. Adrian Davis, Garry Gray, Paul Beggs, Birds Australia, Sydney Olympic Park Authority, Cumberland Bird Observers Club, WA Dept of Agriculture and Food, the Wildlife Data team at NSW Office of Environment, Australasian Pest Birds Network, Fraser Coast Council and Ecosure also provided helpful comments and useful information. We also thank all the survey participants especially IEWF, WIRES, Birds Australia, the local government Councils of Marrickville, Holroyd, Fairfield, the Hills Shire and Kogarah for their support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alison K. Jaggard
    • 1
    Email author
  • Narelle Smith
    • 2
  • Fraser R. Torpy
    • 1
  • Ursula Munro
    • 1
  1. 1.School of the EnvironmentUniversity of TechnologySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.School of Mathematical SciencesUniversity of TechnologySydneyAustralia

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