It is a large red lori, but very different in appearance from the lorises of the genus Eos. It measures 31 cm, and weighs 220 to 250 grams. The back and wing feathers are dark red. The breast and belly feathers are red and edged with a thin yellowish band. The primaries are bronze orange, and the tail a rusty color. The bill is orange, with black at the base of the upper mandible in most birds. The iris is orange. The skin around the eye is gray, the skin around the lower mandible is gray and yellow, the paws are gray.
There is no such thing as sexual dimorphism. Juveniles are similar to adults, but with an overall darker tint. The nominal species has no subspecies.
It is endemic to the Bismarck Archipelago (Papua New Guinea) and the Solomon Islands, including Guadalcanal, Makira, Isabel and Kolombangara, and the islands of Bougainville, Nissan and Buka. Also in Tabar, Lihir (not confirmed), Tanga, and Feni. It is relatively common, and the global population is estimated at 100,000 individuals, including the very small captive population.
It lives in primary and secondary forests, in low plains and on hills (up to 1200 meters, in Kolombangara), in coastal coconut plantations and in mangroves. It is also found in villages and in gardens. They are gregarious birds, generally encountered alone or in pairs, more rarely in small groups of several dozen individuals. They live and feed in the canopy and on palm trees, on fruits, small berries, flowers, buds, but also on pollen and nectar. They seem to be attracted to flowers and red fruits (Arndt, 1996, Low 1998)
They are extremely loud and quarrelsome, and attract a lot of attention. The breeding season seems to start in June, but courtship displays have been observed until September.
It is a still rare parrot in captivity, but the numbers are increasing. It is particularly present in South African farms, where many pairs are kept. In France, the census of the Loris Club of France for the year 2003, published in the CDE review of June 2004, counts only 14 birds, including 6 isolated birds and 4 pairs. The Cardinal Lori is noisy throughout the day. He is playful and confident, very lively. He likes to swing and hang upside down while flapping his wings and screaming. It loves to bathe, and seems a little more sensitive to the cold than the other representatives of the genus, probably because it has been little represented in poultry farming, and for less time. We will isolate the pairs, because it seems that this species is particularly aggressive with its congeners in captivity, which would correspond to a strong instinct of territoriality (Burkard, 1983). Aggressive behavior was also noted by a Danish breeder, and at Walsrode Park.
However, it is important to note that the birds in question were imported birds, and that they probably only had limited space. The breeding season begins in May. The laying is two eggs. Both parents incubate and take care of the young. The incubation period lasts 24 days (Sweeney, 1994).
When hatching, the chicks weigh 6 to 7 grams. They are covered with a long, dense white down. The bill is almost completely black, but pale at base. The young remain in the nest for 65 to 70 days, which is also the weaning age of the hand-reared young (for growth tables of Chalcopsitta cardinalis, cf. Hancock House encyclopedia of the lories, by Rosemary Low, 1998 ).
“Hancock House Encyclopedia of the Lories”, Rosemary Low, ed. Hancock House, 1998.
“Lories & Lorikeets, the brush-tongued parrots”, Rosemary Low, ed. TFH, 1977
“Handbook of the Lories and Lorikeets”, Roger Sweeney, ed. TFH, 1993 “Parrots, A Guide to Parrots of the World”, Juniper and Parr, ed. Yale University Press, 1998
“Parrots of the World”, Joseph Forshaw, 1973