Rainbow Lorikeets are members of a group of Australian multi-coloured birds known as brush-tongued parrots. Their tongues are provided with a brush of tiny papillae for dealing with the very fine pollen of gum blossom which forms a very important part of their diet.

When Captain Cook's ship, Endeavour, was anchored in Botany Bay in 1770, one of the ship's crew took a Rainbow Lorikeet aboard as a pet. The captive survived its trip back to England where it was made famous when a coloured picture of it appeared in New Illustrations of Zoology, which appeared in 1774. It was the first picture ever in colour of an Australian parrot.

More than two centuries later, towns and cities have replaced much of the Lorikeet's bush habitat, but the Lorikeets are sociable birds and they have adapted easilty to the change. They have become welcome visitors to gardens where food is put out for them. On a hot day the birds are happy to linger in the gardens, as there is always the hope that the owner will turn on his sprinkler and give them a shower bath.