As its name suggests, the Little Lorikeet is the smallest of Australia’s lorikeets. Like other lorikeets, this species forages mostly on flowers, specialising in those growing at the tops of tall eucalypts and paperbarks. It often feeds in association with other lorikeets, forming noisy mixed-species flocks. Despite the raucous noise of the other birds, the high-pitched, insect-like screech zit-zit of the Little Lorikeets can often be heard, nevertheless. They are often difficult to see when foraging, so their call is often the first indication that they are present.
A tiny green lorikeet with a black bill and red patch covering its forehead/throat, but not ear-coverts. They also have an orange-yellow eye. Their flight is swift and direct, with rapid shallow wing-beats; birds flushed from a tree usually weave through the treetops but flocks travelling long distances usually fly high on a direct course. In flight, they appear small and compact, with short angular wings and a short pointed tail.
A short, sharp, high screech ; ‘zit’ or ‘zit-zit’. Bird call recorded by: Marc Anderson
It is found In a wide band around the coast of eastern Australia, from about Cairns to south-eastern SA.
Little Lorikeets mainly inhabit dry, open sclerophyll forests and woodlands, usually dominated by tall eucalypts, especially box–ironbark species including White Box and Yellow Box, where they forage in the canopy of flowering trees. They also sometimes occur in mallee associations, and forests vegetated with trees similar to eucalypts, such as bloodwoods and Angophora. They may also feed in flowering paperbarks, mistletoes or grass-trees when the eucalypts are not in flower, but they apparently ignore flowering banksias. Little Lorikeets sometimes occur in logged forests and remnant patches of open forest, and also in open parkland and gardens in urban areas.
A gregarious species, the Little Lorikeet is usually seen in small flocks and often occurs with Rainbow, Musk and Purple-crowned Lorikeets.
When feeding, Little Lorikeets are agile and acrobatic, clambering through the foliage, and often hanging upside down to reach blossoms.
The Little Lorikeet nests in holes in tree limbs or in the main trunk of a tree, in for example, River Red Gums, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Flooded Gums, E. grandis, or River Oaks, Casuarina cunninghamiana. The eggs are lain on decayed wood in the tree hollow. Both members of a pair clean out the hollow, but only the female does the incubation. However, the male roosts in the hollow at night and sometimes during the day.