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Swift parrot

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Title: Swift parrot  
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Swift parrot

Swift parrot
wild, Bruny Island, Tasmania
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Superfamily: Psittacoidea
family: Psittaculidae
Subfamily: Platycercinae
Tribe: Platycercini
Genus: Lathamus
Lesson, 1830
Species: L. discolor
Binomial name
Lathamus discolor
(White, J., 1790)
Distribution of the swift parrot
From Atlas of Living Australia

The swift parrot (Lathamus discolor) breeds in Tasmania and migrates north to south eastern Australia from Griffith-Warialda in New South Wales and west to Adelaide in the winter. It is related to the rosellas, with the feeding habits of a lorikeet. It is the only member in the genus Lathamus.

The swift parrot is endangered with only about 1000 pairs remaining in the wild, and its population is declining.[2]


  • Description 1
  • Breeding and social habits 2
  • Distribution 3
    • Important Bird Areas 3.1
  • Habitat 4
  • Diet 5
  • Conservation status 6
    • Australia 6.1
    • State of Victoria, Australia 6.2
  • References 7
  • Footnotes 8


The swift parrot is about 25 cm (10 in) long and has long pointed wings and long tapering tail feathers. It is mainly green with bluish crown and red on the face above and below the beak. The adult female is slightly duller, and the juvenile has a dark brown iris and a pale orange bill.[2]

Breeding and social habits

The species breeds in Tasmania from September to December. It nests in tree hollows about 6–20 metres from ground level and usually with other breeding pairs. Eggs are white with 3–5 per clutch. Voice is of high pitched tinking chattering, piping pee-pit, pee-pit.


The swift parrot migrates across Bass Strait between Tasmania and the mainland of Australia. They arrive in Tasmania during September and return to south-eastern Australia during March and April.[3] They can be found as far north as south-eastern Queensland and as far west as Adelaide in South Australia, although recent sightings have been restricted to the south-eastern part of the state.

Important Bird Areas

BirdLife International has identified the following sites as being important for swift parrots:[4]

New South Wales
Mudgereeba, SE Queensland, Australia


Usually inhabiting: forests, woodlands, agricultural land and plantations, and also in urban areas.


Seeds and grains, green vegetation, fruit, nectar and pollen, insects and larvae.grubs

The presence of the winter-flowering golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha) is positively correlated with numbers of swift parrots overwintering in box–ironbark forest in central Victoria, while the presence of flowering eucalypts has no correlation.[5]

Conservation status

It is thought that only 1000 pairs remain in the wild. Habitat destruction and loss of old trees with nesting hollows are critical factors in its decline. Sugar gliders are the major predator of nesting parrots in mainland Tasmania, accounting for 85% of kills, but are absent from Bruny and Maria Islands.


Swift parrots are listed as endangered on the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

State of Victoria, Australia

  • The swift parrot is listed as threatened on the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1988).[6] Under this Act, an Action Statement for the recovery and future management of this species has been prepared.[7]
  • On the 2007 advisory list of threatened vertebrate fauna in Victoria, the swift parrot is listed as endangered.[8]


  • Field guide to the birds of Australia Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight, Angus & Robertson 1997, 3rd edition 2000. ISBN 0-207-19714-8


  1. ^  
  2. ^ a b "Swift Parrot - BirdLife Species Factsheet". BirdLife International. 2008. 
  3. ^ Forshaw (2006). page 79.
  4. ^ BirdLife International. (2011). Important Bird Areas. Downloaded from on 2012-01-02.
  5. ^ Mac Nally, Ralph; Horrocks, Gregory (2000). "Landscape-scale conservation of an endangered migrant:the Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolor) in its winter range". Biological Conservation 92 (3): 335–43.  
  6. ^ Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria
  7. ^ Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria
  8. ^ Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment (2007). Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria - 2007. East Melbourne, Victoria: Department of Sustainability and Environment. p. 15.  
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