Chattering Lory Lorius garrulus


Justification of Red List Category
This species is undergoing a rapid population decline that is projected to continue as a direct result of habitat loss and human exploitation for the cagebird trade. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

Population justification
A population size of 46,000-295,000 individuals was estimated by Lambert (1993a, b) although subsequent work in 1994 suggests the population may at that time have been considerably higher.

Trend justification
Data from the UNEP-WCMC CITES trade database shows that legal trade declined through the 1990s and ceased in 2003, with an average of 1915 birds taken per year between 1984-2008 (three generations). Poaching figures of around 2,800 birds were recorded in 2007 (Anon, 2008). Assuming an average rate of 5,000 birds taken annually for trade (legal and illegal), and based on the 1992 population estimate of 45,000-300,000 individuals a decline of 34%-95% over 25 years (three generations) may have occurred; however, based on density estimates of up to 149 birds/km2 the population is now thought to have been significantly underestimated, and taking this into account a decline of 30-50% over three generations is estimated to have taken place.

Distribution and population

Lorius garrulus is endemic to North Maluku, Indonesia, where it is known from Morotai, Rau, Halmahera, Widi, Ternate, Bacan and Obi (BirdLife International 2001). It is locally common, but rare near settlements and plantations. In 1991-1992, the population was estimated at 46,360-295,540 birds, with trappers potentially removing c.10% annually, a clearly unsustainable rate of harvest. However, in 1994, 52,500 individuals (39,600-69,900) were estimated in only 1,060 km2 of forest on Halmahera, suggesting a higher population than initially calculated. Very high densities can apparently be sustained in primary rainforest: this habitat at Miaf yielded an estimate of 149.0 (116.6-190.4) birds per km2.


It occurs most commonly in montane forest, and rarely in gardens and coconut plantations, although this may reflect variations in trapping pressure rather than habitat preference. Moreover, while it is tolerant of logging, the highest densities are to be found in primary forest; and most encounters of this species are in forest generally distant from areas of human activity (Bashari 2012). It is a canopy species, occasionally descending to the lower canopy to feed, and typically nesting in holes in very tall trees. It occurs regularly up to 1,000 m, but has been recorded at 1,100 m with the potential to be found at higher elevations (Bashari 2012, Mittermeier et al. 2013, Thibault et al. 2013).


The main threat stems from trapping for the cage-bird trade. This is the most popular bird exported from east Indonesia, largely owing to its strong imitative abilities. Several thousand individuals were legally taken from the wild annually during the 1980s and early 1990s, although the true figure was probably much higher. Legal trade declined through the 1990s and ceased in 2003 (Poulsen et al. 1999); however, illegal trade continues: in 2007 around 2,800 were recorded as poached and in 2008, 60 were recorded in trade in Javan bird markets (R. Nursahid per J. Gilardi in litt. 2009). Forests within its range were largely intact at the outset of the 1990s, but exploitation by logging companies for economically valuable timber has become intensive (e.g. Vetter 2009). Important nesting-trees are targeted for extraction because of their large size, and with logging roads greatly facilitating access for trappers, this represents an increasingly significant combination of threats.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. In 2002, ProFauna Indonesia, in collaboration with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) from the UK, launched a report to publicise the numbers of parrots trapped in North Maluku in 2001 (R. Tri Prayudhi in litt. 2008). This was followed by campaigns conducted by ProFauna Indonesia, supported by Yayasan KAMU, a local NGO. In 2008, a further report was launched by ProFauna Indonesia, again with the support of the RSPCA, to raise awareness of the capture and smuggling of parrots from North Halmahera (R. Tri Prayudhi in litt. 2008). A healthy population occurs in 167,300 ha of forest at Lalobata and Ake Tajawe on Halmahera which was declared a national park in 2004, although illegal logging and bird trapping have continued (Anon 2008). Since August 2007, a project has been aiming to effectively manage the protected area, by building capacity for effective management, monitoring illegal trade and raising public awareness and support (Anon 2008).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct long-term research into its population size, age structure, ranging behaviour and the relative effects of different threats. Monitor trade. Initiate a conservation awareness campaign. Increase anti-poaching and anti-smuggling operations, perhaps through improved patrolling by the Indonesian Navy or maritime police (R. Tri Prayudhi in litt. 2008).


30 cm. Forest-dwelling parrot. Predominantly red, mantle sometimes with traces of yellow spotting. Orange bill, darker at base. Dull green thighs and wings. Yellow bend of wing and underwing-coverts. Dark green tail tip. Similar spp. Violet-necked Lory Eos squamata is smaller with red-and-black wings and violet nape and neck collar. Female Eclectus Parrot Eclectus roratus has large black, bill and purple patches on belly and mantle. Voice Distinctive, loud, nasal bray given frequently in flight. Also loud, disyllabic call, sometimes given in series from an exposed perch.


Text account compilers
Mahood, S., Davidson, P., Bird, J., Tobias, J., Taylor, J., Symes, A., Benstead, P., Westrip, J.

Gilardi, J., Nursahid, R., Prayudhi, R.T.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Lorius garrulus. Downloaded from on 27/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/03/2023.