Stephen’s Lorikeet

Stephen's Lorikeet

Stephen’s Lorikeet 19cm; 42–55 g. Similar to V. kuhlii but lacks purplish-blue nape and has broken green breastband, less bright rump, and longer, wedge-shaped all-yellowish tail. Immature has mostly green underparts.





Henderson I, in the Pitcairn Group (E Polynesia).


Native forest, which covers the island.



Diet and Foraging

A variety of food types, including nectar, pollen, fruit, and insect larvae, from canopy level in coconut palms to ground-level shrubs, species involved being: nectar and/or pollen from Scaevola sericeaTimonius polygamus (these two the key plants),

CyclophyllumXylosma suaveolensThespesia populneaCordia subcordataPsydraxSenecioCocos nucifera and Pandanus tectorius, fruits of Eugenia rare floraNesoluma st-johnianumGuettardia speciosa and Timonius polygamus, “juice” of Caesalpinia leaves, and lepidopteran larvae from the sporangia of Phymatosorus ferns.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

The commonest call of Stephen’s Lorikeet is a fast trisyllabic (or modulated) “tsililit” given when perched. In-flight, a similar but more piercing “tseet!”.


No information except specimens with developing gonads was collected in Apr, and a female had an enlarged ovary in May.

Conservation Status

VULNERABLE. CITES II. A BirdLife “restricted-range” species. Numbers were estimated in 1987 at 720–1820 birds and in 1992 at 2400 birds.

The population is essentially secure so long as no settlement of its 37km² sole home is attempted, bringing with it the increased chance of colonization by black rats (Rattus rattus); one such attempt was headed off in 1983.

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