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Apr 6, 2015

Australian lorikeets eat meat

Photo: www.Australiananimallearningzone
Lorikeets eat meat ~ who knew?
Australians have known for the last seven years that lorikeets eat meat. Care2Causes said this week that scientists have said they are surprised and a little baffled as to why a handful Rainbow Lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus) in Australia have been caught eating meat despite their tradition of vegetarianism.   Lorikeets are among the most common parrot species on the coasts of Australia and many people put out seeds for birds like lorikeets.   Some of them also put out minced meat for the corvids (crows, ravens, rooks, magpies, etc.) and currawongs, a.k.a. Crow-shrikes or Bell-magpies.   Lorikeets are well-known for their diet of seeds, fruit, the occasional insect, but seem best known for lapping nectar with their specialized tongues.   They seem to be exemplary vegetarians.   About seven years ago, lorakeets started to display a taste for the meat being left for the corvids, and went so far as to chase off other birds so they could have the meat for themselves.   The lorikeets seem perfectly healthy with the additional protein.   Still, scientists are astonished to see lorakeets eating meat.   Moreover, they know not the reason.   While some environmental factor is suspected, there are few theories.   But new research will no doubt cast light on this puzzle in the near future.   One of the interesting questions to be answered may be how many other species of passerines are meat-eaters.
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