New Caledonian Lorikeet (Charmosyna diadema)

New Caledonian Lorikeet

[order] PSITTACIFORMES | [family] Psittacidae | [latin] Charmosyna diadema | [authority] Verreaux & Des Murs, 1860 | [UK] New Caledonian Lorikeet | [FR] Lori a diademe | [DE] Diademlori | [ES] Lori Diadema | [NL] Diadeemhoninglori | [copyright picture] Birdlife


Monotypic species


The genus Charmosyna comprises 14 species distributed from Buru Island (Indonesia) in the west through Irian Jaya, Papua New Guinea, Bismark Archipelago, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Santa Cruz islands and New Caledonia. The red-throated lorikeet in Fiji represents the eastern-most range of this genus. There is little information on most species of Charmosyna, they are notoriously difficult to find and characteristically inhabit mountainous regions with high rainfall. Seven species are in the IUCN Red List (2000). The New Caledonian lorikeet is known only from two specimens collected in 1859 and an observation in 1913 and recent attempts to locate it have failed. The blue-fronted lorikeet C. toxopei is only definitively known from seven specimens collected in the 1920s. Recent attempts to locate it failed and recent sightings are considered uncertain. Reasons for the decline and rarity of Charmosyna lorikeets are cited variously as small populations and restricted range, habitat destruction and degradation, avian malaria, cyclones and invasive species.

Physical charateristics

Bright green lorikeet. Green patterned with deep blue on crown and thighs, yellow face, red vent, red-and-black at base of yellow-tipped tail. Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus is much larger and has dark blue head and red breast.

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 19 cm size max.: 20 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 3  


Australasia: New Caledonia. Charmosyna diadema is known from two specimens collected in 1859, and another collected, but not preserved, in 1913 on New Caledonia (to France)


The earliest reports were that it inhabited forest and occasionally fed in Erythrina trees


Breeding season probably is July?December, and possibly to February, or even all-year round. They excavate in arboreal termite nests or epiphytic ferns. Clutches consist of two (sometimes three?) white rounded eggs

Feeding habits

The bird apparently keeps to treetops. Related species eat nectar, pollen, blossoms, and sometimes soft fruit, foraging in pairs or small (typically fewer than 10) flocks. Erythrina was specifically mentioned as food plants for this species.


This species has not been recorded with certainty since 1913, despite specific searches in 1998, and it may have declined as a result of a number of putative threats. However, it cannot be assumed to have gone Extinct, because there were local reports in the 1950s and in 1976, and lorikeets in this genus are notoriously difficult to detect, being unobtrusive and nomadic, so further surveys are required. Any remaining population is likely to be tiny, and for these reasons it is treated as Critically Endangered.
Montane humid forest is not under threat, but it is possible that this species has a requirement for other habitats, some of which, notably lowland semi-deciduous forests, have nearly disappeared from the island. Several Charmosyna lorikeets have undergone severe population declines or fluctuations of unknown cause. It is possible that introduced disease (such as avian malaria) or more likely mammals (notably rats) may have been a cause of decline.
New Caledonian Lorikeet status Critically Endangered


Most closely-related species are nomadic and occur primarily in montane forest, but range into lowland forests, for which they may have a seasonal dependence

Distribution map

New Caledonian Lorikeet distribution range map

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