Scarlet-breasted Lorikeet Trichoglossus forsteni


Justification of Red List category
This species has been uplisted to Endangered based on a very rapid rate of decline across its restricted range. It also has a small population size that is inferred to be undergoing a continued decline owed to trapping pressures for the wild bird trade.

Population justification
Population density estimates of the congener Coconut Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) number 1.9-33 individuals/km2 for Sumbawa (Marsden 1999). Assuming that 10% of the mapped range is occupied by the species, Scarlet-breasted Lorikeet may therefore number 2,100-37,000 individuals, roughly equating to 1,400-25,000 mature individuals. However, the population is thought to number closer to the lower end of the estimate, and considering the known rarity of the species due to increasing pressure from trapping for trade, the population is suspected to be below 1,500 mature individuals. Thus, population size is tentatively placed here in the band of 500-1,500 mature individuals. It is further considered that the largest population on Sumbawa may not exceed 250 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be undergoing a rapid decline of 50-79% over a three-generation period (15 years; Bird et al. 2020) owing to unsustainable levels of exploitation.

Distribution and population

Trichoglossus forsteni (incorporating mitchelli, djampeanus and stresemanni) was previously found on the islands of Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Tanahjampea and Kalaotoa, Indonesia. However, recent records show that the species is likely restricted to only parts of Bali (extending into the Banyuwangi region of Java), northern parts of Lombok, and only parts of the West Nusa Tenggara province in Sumbawa (including areas within the vicinity of Mount Tambora; eBird 2020). On Lombok the species was observed in a flock of 18 above 1,500 m in 2015 (F. Rheindt per Eaton et al. 2015), though given the lack of other records for many decades it was assumed that the population is likely to be small. Sumbawa was also previously considered the stronghold of the species, and the species was suggested to be ‘secure’ here(Eaton et al. 2015), with a large area of potentially suitable habitat remaining on the island. However, it is possible that the population here has always remained rare (since 1993) owed to extensive trapping (Butchart et al. 1996 per Collar 2017). Thus, it is assumed that only a small, highly unstable population is currently present (Prihatmoko et al. 2019, M. Halaouate in litt. 2020). 

Numbers at Tatar Sepang have for example reduced significantly, with 200 birds recorded in 1997 down to only 50 birds in 2003, few as 6 in 2016 (M. S. Yusuf in litt. 2017 per Collar 2017), only 4 were observed in 2018 at Batudulang forest in the Sumbawa Besar Regency, and no records in 2019 (Prihatmoko et al. 2019). There are additionally no recent records from the Marente Forest (A. Reuleaux in litt. 2017 per Collar 2017). Confiscated birds were previously released on Nusa Penida, although its presence there is uncertain (S. Mahood in litt. 2020, J. Eaton in litt. 2020). 6-7 individuals from race mitchelli were however observed on Bali recently (M. Halaouate in litt. 2020). Where this suggests a small population may have existed in Bali following heavy exploitation which extensively reduced numbers between 1910-1920, it cannot be ruled out that existing individuals may be escaped cage birds finding refuge within the area (Prihatmoko et al. 2019). 

As such, it is estimated that only 50 birds have been recorded away from Sumbawa, Lombok and Bali (J. Eaton in litt. 2020). It is also likely extinct on multiple islands (including Tanahjampea (following trapping principally prior to 1990; Eaton et al. 2015), Kalaotoa, and Kalao in the Flores Sea [eBird 2020]), with no recent records within the past 15 years (J. Eaton in litt. 2020).


Found in lowland and lower montane forest, including secondary growth and plantations, tending to occur at edges and around disturbed vegetation rather than in interior closed-canopy forest (del Hoyo et al. 2020). On Sumbawa T. forsteni ranges from sea level up to 500-700 m, but up to 1,200 m on Sumbawa and 2,150 m on Lombok (del Hoyo et al. 2020); at least on Sumbawa variation in altitudinal range is ascribed to movements made in tracking flowering trees over a large area (White and Bruce 1986). Birds have been reported in breeding condition in May from Sumbawa (White and Bruce 1986). Nests in a deep hole in a large tree (del Hoyo et al. 2020).


The primary threat is trapping for trade. Birdmarkets in the Balinese and Java regions show that lorikeets remain common (Prihatmoko and Halaouate 2018, M. Halaouate in litt. 2020). Many islands across the Flores Sea (Kalaotoa, Kalao and Tanahjmpea) are also under significant pressure from burning for cashew plantations (J. Eaton in litt. 2020); this is likely to have contributed to the extirpation of the species across this range. Deforestation due to corn planting has also led to the loss of mature trees and flooding across Sumbawa, compounding the affect of trapping on an already rare population (Prihatmoko et al. 2019).

Conservation actions

Conservation and research actions underway
CITES Appendix II. CMS Appendix II. The species is protected in Bali (Prihatmoko et al. 2019).

Conservation and research actions proposed
Estimate population and assess population trend and scale of trapping pressure. Conduct a targeted survey for the species to identify important sites, with a view to affording them protection. Conduct research into its status and habitat use (with particular regard to feeding ecology and forest fragmentation). Initiate awareness campaigns to elicit the support of local people in protecting forests and preventing illegal trade.


25-30 cm. Distinctive, colourful parakeets with a dark blue head, pale green collar, plain red breast, and dark blue belly. Rest of the plumage is a bright pale green, and the typical parakeet bill is red. In flight the species shows a bright yellow wing flash across the inner part of all flight feathers, and deep red underwing coverts. Similar spp. None in range, but previously included with T. haematodus along with T. capistratus, T. weberi, T. rubritorquis, T. moluccanus, and T. rosenbergii. It is distinct from all of these in the combination of plain red breast, dark blue belly, and virtually unstreaked dark blue head. Voice. A harsh, repeated screech "keek, keek, keek..." in flight; twittering and chattering when settled.


Text account compilers
Martin, R., Fernando, E.

Butchart, S., Chng, S., Eaton, J., Ekstrom, J., Halaouate, M., Harding, M., Mahood, S., Stattersfield, A., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Trichoglossus forsteni. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/scarlet-breasted-lorikeet-trichoglossus-forsteni on 01/12/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 01/12/2023.