The attractive swift parrot (Lathamus discolour) is most commonly seen on the Australian mainland in autumn and winter, when it migrates from its Tasmanian breeding grounds. In NSW, where it is endangered, this woodland bird occurs mostly on the coast and south-west slopes.
Swift parrot habitat
If food is available, the swift parrot will return to the same foraging sites each year to dine on flowering eucalypts (including the swamp mahogany, spotted gum, red bloodwood, mugga ironbark and white box) and infestations of sap-sucking bugs. A small parrot, the swift parrot is bright green with red around its bill, throat and forehead, with a long, thin red tail. Its crown is blue-purple and the swift parrot has bright red patches under its wings.
Threats to the swift parrot
On the Australian mainland, the main threat to the swift parrot is loss of habitat through land clearing for agriculture, urban and industrial development. Retaining stands of winter-flowering feed-trees, particularly large mature individuals, and replanting these species will help to maintain healthy swift parrot populations.
There are more common threats as birds, including the swift parrot, also often collide with wire netting fences and into windows and cars during the winter migration. People living near swift parrot habit are advised to let windows get dirty and to hang wind chimes, mobiles and strips of fabric in front of windows and across wire mesh fences.
Solutions – What can be done?
Biannual surveys are conducted by members of the swift parrot recovery team to locate the bird’s winter foraging areas.
The Nature Conservation Trust’s conservation work on private lands is helping to protect habitat for the swift parrot.