Listed as a sub-species of the Rainbow Lorikeet, Massena’s Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus massena is also known as the Coconut Lory and in Bislama – Nasiviru. While the Rainbow Lorikeet, through 21 different races is found throughout Indonesia, New Guinea, the Solomons and parts of Australia, Massena is found only in the Bismarck Archipelago (near New Guinea), the Solomons and throughout Vanuatu except Futuna and Lopevi.
Growing to around 250mm including a 100mm tail, these striking coloured lories are mainly bright green with a red breast, bluish-mauve head and red-orange beak. They frequent flowering trees but their movements are usually erratic as they travel, even between islands, in search of food.
Living primarily in wooded habitat in lowland areas, they are sometimes found in steep terrain where favourite trees or shrubs are flowering. They prefer habitat other than true forest or mangroves however and are found in trees bordering watercourses surrounding paddocks, in suburban gardens and in nearly every coconut plantation.
The nectar and pollen from these coconut palm flowers form their staple diet and in return the lories are important pollinators of these trees. Other sources of food include the Indian Coral tree, the African Tulip tree and the Sago palm. They also enjoy the soft fruit of the Panama Cherry tree and ripening fruit from domestic orchards. Maize and sorghum crops are also targeted.
Title: Massena’s Lorikeet – Vanuatu
Date of Issue: 25 May 2011
Denominations: 40, 60, 140 and 160 vatu