Nature conservation

Threatened species

Little Lorikeet - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Glossopsitta pusilla
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Gazetted date: 31 Jul 2009
Profile last updated: 29 Jun 2022


The Little Lorikeet is a small (16-19 cm; 40 g) bright green parrot, with a red face surrounding its black bill and extending to the eye. The undertail is olive-yellow with a partly concealed red base, and the underwing coverts are bright green. The mantle is imbued with light brown. The call in flight is diagnostically different from other lorikeets, being a shrill and rolling screech: ‘zit-zit’ or ‘zzet’. Although difficult to observe while foraging high in treetops, a flock’s constantly chattering contact calls give it away. Flight is fast, direct and through or above the canopy.


The Little Lorikeet is distributed widely across the coastal and Great Divide regions of eastern Australia from Cape York to South Australia. NSW provides a large portion of the species' core habitat, with lorikeets found westward as far as Dubbo and Albury. Nomadic movements are common, influenced by season and food availability, although some areas retain residents for much of the year and ‘locally nomadic’ movements are suspected of breeding pairs.

Habitat and ecology

  • Forages primarily in the canopy of open Eucalyptus forest and woodland, yet also finds food in Angophora, Melaleuca and other tree species. Riparian habitats are particularly used, due to higher soil fertility and hence greater productivity.
  • Isolated flowering trees in open country, e.g. paddocks, roadside remnants and urban trees also help sustain viable populations of the species.
  • Feeds mostly on nectar and pollen, occasionally on native fruits such as mistletoe, and only rarely in orchards
  • Gregarious, travelling and feeding in small flocks (<10), though often with other lorikeets. Flocks numbering hundreds are still occasionally observed and may have been the norm in past centuries.
  • Roosts in treetops, often distant from feeding areas.
  • Nests in proximity to feeding areas if possible, most typically selecting hollows in the limb or trunk of smooth-barked Eucalypts. Entrance is small (3 cm) and usually high above the ground (2–15 m). These nest sites are often used repeatedly for decades, suggesting that preferred sites are limited. Riparian trees often chosen, including species like Allocasuarina.
  • Nesting season extends from May to September. In years when flowering is prolific, Little Lorikeet pairs can breed twice, producing 3-4 young per attempt. However, the survival rate of fledglings is unknown.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Plains Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Range Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthNorthern Basalts Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Outwash Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthTalbragar Valley Known None
NandewarInverell Basalts Known None
NandewarKaputar Known None
NandewarNandewar Northern Complex Known None
NandewarPeel Known None
New England TablelandsArmidale Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsBeardy River Hills Known None
New England TablelandsBinghi Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsBundarra Downs Known None
New England TablelandsDeepwater Downs Known None
New England TablelandsEastern Nandewars Known None
New England TablelandsEbor Basalts Known None
New England TablelandsGlenn Innes-Guyra Basalts Known None
New England TablelandsMoredun Volcanics Known None
New England TablelandsNightcap Known None
New England TablelandsNortheast Forest Lands Known None
New England TablelandsRound Mountain Known None
New England TablelandsSevern River Volcanics Known None
New England TablelandsStanthorpe Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsTenterfield Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsTingha Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsWalcha Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsYarrowyck-Kentucky Downs Known None
NSW North CoastBarrington Known None
NSW North CoastCataract Known None
NSW North CoastChaelundi Known None
NSW North CoastCoffs Coast and Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastComboyne Plateau Known None
NSW North CoastDalmorton Known None
NSW North CoastEllerston Known None
NSW North CoastKaruah Manning Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Gorges Known None
NSW North CoastMacleay Hastings Known None
NSW North CoastMummel Escarpment Known None
NSW North CoastRocky River Gorge Known None
NSW North CoastTomalla Known None
NSW North CoastUpper Hunter Known None
NSW North CoastUpper Manning Known None
NSW North CoastWashpool Known None
NSW North CoastYuraygir Known None
NSW South Western SlopesCapertee Valley Known None
NSW South Western SlopesInland Slopes Known None
NSW South Western SlopesLower Slopes Known None
OceanBatemans Shelf Known None
OceanHawkesbury Shelf Known None
OceanManning Shelf Known None
OceanTwofold Shelf Known None
Ocean - Other StateNorthern Australian Coastal Waters Known None
Ocean - Other StateSouthern Australian Coastal Waters Known None
Other StateACT Known None
Other StateJervis Bay Territory Known None
Other StateQLD Known None
Other StateSA Known None
Other StateVIC Known None
RiverinaMurray Fans Known None
South East CornerBateman Known None
South East CornerEast Gippsland Lowlands Known None
South East CornerSouth East Coastal Ranges Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBathurst Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBungonia Known None
South Eastern HighlandsCapertee Uplands Known None
South Eastern HighlandsCrookwell Known None
South Eastern HighlandsHill End Known None
South Eastern HighlandsKanangra Known None
South Eastern HighlandsKybeyan-Gourock Known None
South Eastern HighlandsMonaro Known None
South Eastern HighlandsMurrumbateman Known None
South Eastern HighlandsOrange Known None
South Eastern QueenslandBurringbar-Conondale Ranges Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Sandstones Known None
South Eastern QueenslandScenic Rim Known None
South Eastern QueenslandSunshine Coast-Gold Coast Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandWoodenbong Known None
Sydney BasinBurragorang Known None
Sydney BasinCumberland Known None
Sydney BasinEttrema Known None
Sydney BasinHunter Known None
Sydney BasinIllawarra Known None
Sydney BasinJervis Known None
Sydney BasinKerrabee Known None
Sydney BasinMoss Vale Known None
Sydney BasinPittwater Known None
Sydney BasinSydney Cataract Known None
Sydney BasinWollemi Known None
Sydney BasinWyong Known None
Sydney BasinYengo Known None