General Description

A medium-sized parrot with pointed wings and tail. Mostly bright green with a dark blue patch on head. They have red above the bill and on the throat, which has a narrow yellow border. The underwing has prominent red and yellow patches. The tail is slim and pointed. The birds have a very rapid flight. Length approx. 25 cm; weight approx. 65 g.


Swift Parrots breed in Tasmania during summer and migrate to south-eastern Australia for the winter. A few non-breeding birds may be seen on mainland Australia during summer. Breeding sites coincide with areas of flowering blue-gums (and to a lesser extent black-gums), which vary year to year. The adults feed chiefly on eucalypt nectar and pollen, but also eat lerps and other leaf-dwelling insects and feed these to their young. Swift Parrots nest in tree-hollows, laying three to five eggs. Predation of brooding females and their young by introduced Sugar Gliders now seems likely to be driving the species towards extinction; fledging success is only at a healthy level on glider-free islands such as Bruny and Maria. After the breeding-season, Swift Parrots disperse across Tasmania, feeding on the pollen and nectar of a range of eucalypt species.


South-eastern Australia.


In Tasmania Swift Parrots are mostly associated with eucalypt forest, particularly (during the breeding season) with blue-gums. On mainland Australia they inhabit dry woodland, especially ironbark forests.

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