The Musk Lorikeet specialises in feeding on the nectar which is produced by flowering eucalypts, and sometimes also from the flowers of banksias and grevilleas. They collect nectar with their brush-shaped tongues. Musk Lorikeets are usually seen feeding in large noisy flocks in the canopy of eucalypts, often associating with other nectar-feeding birds, especially Rainbow Lorikeets and honeyeaters. The movements of Musk Lorikeets are often correlated with the flowering of trees, with birds appearing when the trees are in bloom, and leaving after the flowering has finished.
The Musk Lorikeet is a medium-sized, sturdy lorikeet, sometimes seen in large flocks when trees are flowering and often in mixed flocks with other parrots and other birds. They are active and noisy. This lorikeet is mostly green, with a yellow patch at the side of the breast. It has a bright red forehead and band through the eye to the ear coverts. The crown is blue, with females having less blue than males. In flight, brown flight feathers and the golden tail are revealed. Flight is fast and direct, with short angular wings and a medium-length, pointed to wedge-shaped tail.
The usual contact call is a shrill metallic screech, higher than the Rainbow Lorikeet, in flight and when perched. They constantly chatter when feeding. Bird call recorded by: Fred Van Gessel
Musk Lorikeets are endemic to (only found in) south-eastern Australia, being widespread in eastern New South Wales, Tasmania, and in the south-east of South Australia.
Musk Lorikeets are found in tall, open, dry forest and woodlands, dominated by eucalypts and are usually found in the canopy. They are also seen in suburban areas, parks and street trees. They roost or loaf in tall trees away from their feeding sites.
Musk Lorikeets are gregarious, often mixing with other parrots when feeding, including Scaly-breasted Lorikeets, Little Lorikeets and Swift Parrots.
Musk Lorikeets feed in all levels of the canopy and are very active when foraging. They eat mainly pollen and nectar from eucalypts using their specialised brush-tipped tongues, but also eat seeds, fruits and insects and their larvae.
Musk Lorikeets breed in hollow branches and holes in living eucalypts, often near watercourses. The entrance holes are usually very small, so they have to squeeze in. Eggs are laid on a base of chewed or decayed wood. The female incubate the eggs and both parents roost in the hollow at night.