1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lory

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LORY (a word of Malayan origin signifying parrot, in general use with but slight variation of form in many European languages), the name of certain birds of the order Psittaci, mostly from the Moluccas and New Guinea, remarkable for their bright scarlet or crimson colouring, though also, and perhaps subsequently, applied to some others in which the plumage is chiefly green. The lories have been referred to a considerable number of genera, of which Lorius (the Domicella of some authors), Eos and Chalcopsittacus may be here particularized, while under the name of “lorikeets” may be comprehended such genera as Trichoglossus, Charmosyna, Loriculus and Coriphilus. By most systematists some of these forms have been placed far apart, even in different families of Psittaci, but A. H. Garrod has shown (Proc. Zool. Society, 1874, pp. 586-598, and 1876, p. 692) the many common characters they possess, which thus goes some way to justify the relationship implied by their popular designation. A full account of these birds is given in the first part of Count T. Salvadori's Ornitologia della Papuasia e delle Molucche (Turin 1880), whilst a later classification appeared in Salvadori's section of the British Museum Catalogue of Birds, xx., 1891.

Though the name lory has often been used for the species of Eclectus, and some other genera related thereto, modern writers would restrict its application to the birds of the genera Lorius, Eos, Chalcopsittacus and their near allies, which are often placed in a subfamily, Loriinae, belonging to the so-called family of Trichoglossidae or “brush-tongued” parrots. Garrod in his investigations on the anatomy of Psittaci was led not to attach much importance to the structure indicated by the epithet “brush-tongued” stating (Proc. Zool. Society, 1874, p. 597) that it “is only an excessive development of the papillae which are always found on the lingual surface.” The birds of this group are very characteristic of the New Guinea subregion,[1] in which occur, according to Count Salvadori, ten species of Lorius, eight of Eos and four of Chalcopsittacus; but none seem here to require any further notice,[2] though among them, and particularly in the genus Eos, are included some of the most richly-coloured birds in the whole world; nor does it appear that more need be said of the lorikeets.

The family is the subject of an excellent monograph by St George Mivart (London, 1896). (A. N.)


  1. They extend, however, to Fiji, Tahiti and Fanning Island.
  2. Unless it be Oreopsittacus arfaki, of New Guinea, remarkable as the only parrot known as yet to have fourteen instead of twelve rectrices.