The Lory Lovers’ Library

For those of us interested in learning more about lories, the following books contain a wealth of information. For each one I have provided a review and rating. Ratings are shown as one to four feathers, four feathers being the best.

Lories and Lorikeets: The Brush-tongued Parrots by Rosemary Low (1977), ISBN 0-442-24898-9, 180 pages with color photographs by various photographers, Paul Elek Limited (London, England), republished in the United States by Van Nostrand Reinhold Company (hardcover) and TFH Publications, Inc. (paperback). Variable price, $8-$25 (currently out of print but still available in specialty and used bookstores). Category: Specific (Loriinae). Level: Advanced or Breeder.

Not only did Rosemary Low write the first lory book that was targeted to the general public, but she also wrote the best lory book. This book is well-researched, presenting information reported by ornithologists and zoo keepers as well as avicultural observations. The writing is well-edited and consistent throughout, and the book contains much useful information about general and specific aspects of lory care. Behavioral accounts are also included and are quite interesting. Physical descriptions of individual species and subspecies plumage variations are skillfully written. Unfortunately, the recipes described in the ‘feeding’ chapter contain ingredients that are mysterious to the average American and therefore, are impossible to duplicate. The other flaw is the variable quality of the photographs and the small number of species that are pictured. This book can be difficult to find at times, but it is well-worth the search.

Lories and Lorikeets: The Brush-tongued Parrots & Their Care in Aviculture, by Alison Ruggles with Photographs by Dennis Avon, and line drawings by Pippa Mayell (1995), ISBN 0-7137-2268-1, 253 pages with 51 color photographs, many line drawings, graphs and maps, Blandford (London, England). $25 US. Category: Specific (Loriinae). Level: Advanced or Breeder.

This book is the most recent addition to the small but growing number of published lory books. It is well-researched, but the writing tends to be excessively wordy. Individual species monographs are fairly interesting and include range maps showing the normal distribution of each species in the wild. The photographs generally are high quality, and the author adds two plates of drawings, reminiscent of bird-watching field guides, illustrating some plumage differences between various subspecies of the black-capped lories (Lorius lory) and several of the rainbow lories (Trichoglossus haematodus). The line drawings, however, are terrible; sometimes inaccurate, and contribute little to the material presented in the book. It is most unfortunate (and probably beyond the author’s control) that the ‘forward’ of this book was written by convicted parrot smuggler, Tony Silva. Easy to find at any of the larger bookstores or specialty booksellers, this book is a welcome addition to any lory lover’s library.

A Guide to the Lories & Lorikeets: Their Management, Care & Breeding by Peter Odekerken (1995) ISBN 0-9587445-9-5, 95 pages with 92 color photographs supplied by several photographers and several maps, Australian Birdkeeper (NSW, Australia). $23.95 US (paperback). Category: Specific (Loriinae). Level: Advanced.

An informative and fairly well-written book that contains interesting information about lory breeding in Australia. The section entitled ‘breeding habits’ briefly reports some interesting behaviors and natural history traits of wild lories. Unfortunately, the monographs of individual species are quite short and are not very interesting. The recipes described in the ‘feeding’ section are interesting but some ingredients are not available in America. Some photographs, especially pictures of the rainbow, melanistic Stella’s and the black lories, are over-exposed or out-of-focus. Despite this, the photographs are generally the best that you will find in any lory book available on the market. Additionally, several nice portraits of some species and their chicks have been included. Of particular interest are photographs of color mutations that have occurred in Australian loriculture. This book can be difficult to find in the United States but it is worth the effort.

Lories & Lorikeets: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual by Matthew Vriends with 27 color photographs and drawings by Michele Earle-Bridges, (1993), ISBN 0-8120-1567-3, 93 pages, Barron’s Educational Series (Hauppauge, NY). $5.95 US (paperback). Category: Specific (Loriinae). Level: Basic.

This book is inconsistent in its overall quality; generally, the writing is fairly good and the lore is reasonably accurate. The photographs are of variable quality; some are very good, while others have poor background contrast, are out-of-focus or are over-exposed. The line drawings are quite nice, but tend to be redundant. I do disagree with the author on several points, for example, it is not true that ALL lory species can be fed a daily diet consisting of 70% of the “dry diet” as he claims. My own experiences and those of other lory breeders have convinced me that at least several lory species cannot maintain their overall health and feather condition when primarily fed the “dry diet” for long periods of time. Despite my reservations about this book, I do think this is the best basic lory book that is currently available.

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