“Sweeter than the open sky,
or the freedom to fly,
Effortless like the words of a poem
or the birds’ flight
This vintage illustration of a pair of lorikeets is a reminder of love’s sweetness.
Ceylon Lorikeet or the Sri Lankan Hanging Parrot is endemic to Sri Lanka. Lorikeets are thought to mate for life. These adorable birds are never seen alone, always living in pairs or small groups of couples that forage together. One is never too far from its mate. When courting, the male struts with a jerky gait and short hops, beak held high, blue throat feathers puffed out and tail spread while emitting a little squeaky warble interspersed with twits as the female watches. They are strictly arboreal, never descending to the ground level.
These lorikeets sleep hanging upside down; sometimes they appear quite comical eating and singing bottom up too. With a beak well adapted for drawing nectar, lorikeets often enjoy toddy from fermented Kitul palm (Caryota urens) and get intoxicated from it. Most birds get caught by pet sellers this way. Although classified as ‘Least Concern’ over twenty years ago, the pet trade and deforestation have had an effect on their numbers; it may be time to reclassify these loveable birds to ensure better protection.
✺ Originally illustrated by G. L. Lushington for W. W. A. Phillips 1949 ‘Birds of Ceylon’.
✺ Framed print postcard size 5" x 7". Wooden frame.
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