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Papuan Lorikeet - BirdForum Opus

Melanistic morph
Photo by Photo by djringer
Kumul Lodge, Enga Province, Papua New Guinea, October 2006
Charmosyna papou

Includes: Stella's Lorikeet


36-42 cm.

  • Red upper body and underparts with a dark blue band to black nape patch
  • Broad black band on belly and thighs
  • Yellow patch on side of breast and flank behind thigh
  • Dark green wings
  • Dark green tail with very long central tail streamers (25 cm), with yellow tips
  • Red underwing-coverts
  • Blackish underside of flight-feathers
  • Red lower back and sides of rum, central rump blue shading to green on uppertail-coverts
  • Orange bill and legs
  • goliathina, wahnesi and stellae with a melanistic morph, most red replaced by blue-black and very dark green. Also mixed red/black forms.

Sexes similar, females have a yellow patch on the lower back. Immatures are duller and have a shorter tail.


Endemic to New Guinea.
Fairly common, however the skins of this species are used as head decorations by local tribes and are much traded.


Four subspecies recognized:

  • C. p. papou in western New Guinea (montane forests of Vogelkop Peninsula)
  • C. p. goliathina from the Weyland Mountains to Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea
  • C. p. wahnesi in the Mountains of Huon Peninsula (northeast New Guinea)
  • C. p. stellae in the mountains of southeast New Guinea (Herzog Mountains to Owen Stanley Range)

HBW alive splits this species into Papuan Lorikeet (C. papou, monotypic) and Stella's Lorikeet (C. stellae with goliathina and wahnesi).


Found in montane forest, including disturbed Nothofagus-Podocarpus forest.
Occurs from 1600 to 3500 m, sometimes down to 1400m.



Feeds on blossoms, flower buds, pollen, soft fruit and small seeds. Also seen consuming insects. Usually in pairs or singly. Rather aggressive towards other species like Yellow-billed Lorikeet.


A pair with enlarged gonads recorded in August, young birds seen from October to November. Lays two eggs in captivity.
No other information.


Some local nomadism reported.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved February 2017)

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