Red Lory (Moluccan Lory): Bird Species Profile

Temperament, Diet, and Care Tips

red lories

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The Red Lory (Eos bornea), also known as the Moluccan Lory, is a small parrot with a big personality. It’s stunning bright-red color makes the Red Lory an exceptionally beautiful companion bird. Red Lories are playful and fun to be around, but they require specialized care to ensure they thrive. Although new bird owners might be enchanted by the Red Lory, this species is often better suited for experienced bird owners. The main requirement for Red Lory ownership is a dedication to meeting this bird’s needs, both physically and emotionally. The Red Lory is one of the most popular Lories kept by bird fanciers, second only to the Rainbow Lory.

Species Overview

Common Names: Red Lory, Moluccan Lory, Moluccan Red Lory

Scientific Name: Eos bornea

Adult Size: 10 to 12 inches long. About 6 ounces

Life Expectancy: Up to 30 years

Origin and History

The Red Lory is a small red parrot belonging to the Psittaculidae family. Lories, also known as Lorikeets, are a type of small parrot in the commonly found in Australia nearby islands like New Guinea and Indonesia. The Red Lory is related to the Rainbow Lory, or Rainbow Lorikeet. Red Lories breed readily in captivity and are easily found in pet stores and bird specialty stores. The Red Lory originated in Indonesia, specifically the Maluku Islands (also known as the Moluccas). This is why the Red Lory is sometimes referred to as the Moluccan Lory.


Red Lories are outgoing and cheerful birds, entertaining their owners with their clownish antics and play. These mischievous birds are intelligent and always looking for their next adventure, so it behooves you to keep a close eye on them when they are out of the cage. Hand-raising and hand-feeding young Red Lories will help them grow accustomed to human touch, making them more accepting of handling. Although they are affectionate and enjoy human interaction and handling, they might occasionally nip. The Red Lory might be happiest as the only bird in the house. They crave human interaction and play, so anyone considering a Red Lory must be prepared to provide a lot of daily attention and affection.

Speech and Vocalizations

Red Lories are quite vocal, chatting, squawking and screeching all day long. They can also readily learn and repeat back words, an activity that can be great fun. The Red Lory is a very loud bird. It’s best kept by someone who appreciates a talkative pet. 

Red Lory Colors and Markings

The body of the Red Lory is deep red. It has splashes of blue on its wings. and a white face and chest and belly. Male and female Red Lories look identical, so it’s not possible to determine sex based on appearance. 

Caring for the Red Lory

The Red Lory is extremely active, so it should be housed in as large an enclosure as possible to ensure it has lots of space to fly, climb and play when inside its cage. Lots of time outside the cage is also essential for these playful and social birds. Ideally, choose an enclosure that is at least 24 inches deep by 36 inches wide and 36 inches tall. Choose a cage that’s easy to clean (something you can hose down is ideal). Red Lories are quite messy because their high-liquid diets result in lots of liquid droppings. You might want to lay plastic down under the cage to help contain the projectile poop. 

You can purchase a commercial nest box or make your own. Provide a variety of perches in different shapes and sizes, taking care to ensure they are not above food or water sources to prevent contamination with feces. Ropes and chains for climbing are essential. Toys are also important for Red Lories. They love to play so provide many different toys—like swings, blocks, mirrors and bells—made of many different materials, such as sisal, cotton, leather and wood. Toys that rattle or ring are also favorites. Make sure your toys are sturdy so they hold up. Routinely rotate your Red Lory’s toys to keep them interesting and enticing. 

Red Lories require daily baths. You can simply mist the bird with a water bottle or let them play in a shallow bath, which doubles as great playtime for the bird. 

Common Health Problems

The Red Lory may be prone to developing hemochromatosis. This potentially fatal metabolic disorder, which is also called iron storage disease, causes an over-accumulation of iron in the tissues of the body. 

Red Lories can also suffer the consequences of a poor or inappropriate diet (for example, seed is not an appropriate diet for Red Lories). Always consult with an avian veterinarian to make sure your Red Lory is not suffering from nutritional deficiencies.

Diet and Nutrition

The Red Lory has very unique dietary requirements. The Red Lory feeds mainly on nectar; it’s tongue has a brush-like tip specifically designed for this purpose. In fact, Lories are sometimes called brush-tongued parrots. Red Lories also enjoy soft, very ripe fruits and some vegetables. 

In the wild, Red Lories get their nectar from flowers. Red Lories that are kept as pets eat commercial nectars intended to replicate their diet in the wild. Commercial nectars come as a dry powder and must be mixed fresh at least twice a day. To prevent spoilage, uneaten nectar should be discarded after a few hours and replaced with fresh nectar at the next feeding. Uneaten fresh fruits should also be discarded after a few hours and replaced with new fruit at the next feeding. Fresh water should be available at all times.  

The Red Lory’s diet of nectar is very wet and Red Lories have short digestive tracts. This means Red Lory poops are also very wet and copious—even projectile. Messy poops (lots of them) are a reality of living with a Lory—both inside and outside of their cage. However, the good news is Red Lories are extremely intelligent. Some owners have had luck training their Red Lories to poop in a specific spot on command to help contain the mess.  


Red Lories are always moving, so they get plenty of exercise in their day-to-day play. Inside or outside its cage, the Red Lory is an active flyers and climber. They also enjoy playing with toys. 

  • Vocal bird that can learn to talk

  • Exceptionally beautiful red parrot 

  • Friendly, playful and entertaining

  • Messy, liquid poops

  • Can be nippy when handled 

  • Require advanced level of care

Where to Adopt or Buy a Red Lory

Red Lories are readily available for sale in pet stores and bird specialty stores. You can also purchase Red Lories from a breeder. As with all bird species, always do your research to ensure the breeder you’re interested in buying from is experienced and sells healthy birds raised in a humane environment. If you are interested in adopting a Red Lory, bird rescue groups and even your local animal shelter might have Red Lories available for adoption. 

More Pet Bird Species and Further Research 

If you like the Red Lory, you might also be interested in the following bird species: