Swift Parrot - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Lathamus discolor
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Critically Endangered
Gazetted date: 24 Mar 2000
Profile last updated: 06 Jun 2016


The Swift Parrot is small parrot about 25 cm long. It is bright green with red around the bill, throat and forehead. The red on its throat is edged with yellow. Its crown is blue-purple. There are bright red patches under the wings. One of most distinctive features from a distance is its long (12 cm), thin tail, which is dark red. This distinguishes it from the similar lorikeets, with which it often flies and feeds. Can also be recognised by its flute-like chirruping or metallic "kik-kik-kik" call.


Breeds in Tasmania during spring and summer, migrating in the autumn and winter months to south-eastern Australia from Victoria and the eastern parts of South Australia to south-east Queensland. In NSW mostly occurs on the coast and south west slopes.

You can help map Distribution and Habitat
Each year the Swift Parrot Recovery Team relies on the involvement of volunteers to identify areas the birds are visiting and what resources they are using. This information directly helps the recovery effort for this species. Surveys are conducted twice a year and aim to cover the migratory winter range of this species. Mainland surveys are held on the 3rd weekend in May and the first weekend in August every year.

All information helps and the Recovery Team is also very interested to receive sighting information of these birds outside the survey dates. Surveys are run in combination with the Regent Honeyeater survey effort, another Endangered migratory woodland bird.

Please contact the relevant coordinator for your state (specified below) and let us know which sites you would like to survey or to request some suggestions for new sites to explore.

Survey sheets and instructions can be downloaded from the 'Related Information' pane on the left hand side of your screen.

The Swift Parrot Volunteer Survey Coordinators are:
Victoria/NSW/ACT/Qld/SA - Chris Tzaros (Birds Australia) freecall 1800 66 57 66 or 03 9347 0757 e-mail c.tzaros@birdsaustralia.com.au
Tasmania - Matt Webb (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tas) ph 03 6233 6952, e-mail matthew.webb@dpiw.tas.gov.au

Habitat and ecology

  • Migrates to the Australian south-east mainland between March and October.
  • On the mainland they occur in areas where eucalypts are flowering profusely or where there are abundant lerp (from sap-sucking bugs) infestations.
  • Favoured feed trees include winter flowering species such as Swamp Mahogany Eucalyptus robusta, Spotted Gum Corymbia maculata, Red Bloodwood C. gummifera, Mugga Ironbark E. sideroxylon, and White Box E. albens.
  • Commonly used lerp infested trees include Inland Grey Box E. microcarpa, Grey Box E. moluccana and Blackbutt E. pilularis.
  • Return to some foraging sites on a cyclic basis depending on food availability.
  • Following winter they return to Tasmania where they breed from September to January, nesting in old trees with hollows and feeding in forests dominated by Tasmanian Blue Gum Eucalyptus globulus.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

CMA CMA sub-region Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Border Rivers-GwydirBeardy River Hills Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirBinghi Plateau Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirBundarra Downs (Part A) Known None
Border Rivers-GwydirBundarra Downs (Part B) Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirDeepwater Downs Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirEastern Nandewars (Part A) Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirEastern Nandewars (Part B) Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirGlenn Innes-Guyra Basalts Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirInverell Basalts Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirKaputar Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirMoredun Volcanics Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirNandewar, Northern Complex Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirNorthern Basalts Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirPeel Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirSevern River Volcanics Known None
Border Rivers-GwydirTenterfield Plateau Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirTingha Plateau Predicted None
Border Rivers-GwydirYarrowyck-Kentucky Downs Known None
Central WestBathurst Predicted None
Central WestCapertee Known None
Central WestHill End Known None
Central WestKerrabee Predicted None
Central WestLiverpool Range Predicted None
Central WestOrange Predicted None
Central WestPilliga Known None
Central WestTalbragar Valley Predicted None
Central WestUpper Slopes Known None
Central WestWollemi Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanBungonia Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanBurragorang (Part A) Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanCapertee (Part A) Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanCumberland Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanPittwater Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanWollemi Known None
Hawkesbury-NepeanYengo Known None
Hunter-Central RiversEllerston Known None
Hunter-Central RiversHunter Known None
Hunter-Central RiversKaruah Manning Known None
Hunter-Central RiversKerrabee Known None
Hunter-Central RiversMacleay Hastings Known None
Hunter-Central RiversPilliga Predicted None
Hunter-Central RiversUpper Hunter Known None
Hunter-Central RiversWollemi (Part A) Known None
Hunter-Central RiversWollemi (Part B) Predicted None
Hunter-Central RiversWollemi (Part C) Predicted None
Hunter-Central RiversWyong Known None
Hunter-Central RiversYengo Known None
LachlanKanangra Predicted None
LachlanLower Slopes Known None
LachlanOberon Predicted None
LachlanOrange Predicted None
LachlanUpper Slopes Known None
Lower Murray-DarlingRobinvale Plains (Part A) Known None
Lower Murray-DarlingRobinvale Plains (Part B) Predicted None
Lower Murray-DarlingRobinvale Plains (Part C) Predicted None
MurrayLower Slopes Known None
MurrayMurray Fans Known None
MurrayMurrumbidgee Known None
MurrayUpper Slopes Known None
MurrumbidgeeLower Slopes Known None
MurrumbidgeeMonaro Predicted None
MurrumbidgeeUpper Slopes Known None
NamoiEastern Nandewars Predicted None
NamoiKaputar Predicted None
NamoiLiverpool Plains (Part A) Known None
NamoiLiverpool Plains (Part B) Known None
NamoiLiverpool Range Predicted None
NamoiNorthern Basalts Predicted None
NamoiPeel Known None
NamoiPilliga (Part A) Known None
NamoiPilliga (Part B) Predicted None
NamoiPilliga Outwash Predicted None
Northern RiversArmidale Plateau Known None
Northern RiversClarence Lowlands Known None
Northern RiversClarence Sandstones Known None
Northern RiversCoffs Coast & Escarpment Known None
Northern RiversMacleay Hastings Known None
Northern RiversMurwillumbah (Qld - Southeast Hills and Ranges) Known None
Northern RiversRichmond - Tweed (Qld - Scenic Rim) (Part A) Known None
Northern RiversStanthorpe Plateau Known None
Northern RiversWalcha Plateau Predicted None
Northern RiversWongwibinda Plateau Known None
Northern RiversYuraygir Known None
Southern RiversBateman Known None
Southern RiversEast Gippsland Lowlands (Part A) Known None
Southern RiversEast Gippsland Lowlands (Part C) Predicted None
Southern RiversIllawarra Known None
Southern RiversJervis Known None
Southern RiversMonaro (Part B) Known None
Southern RiversMonaro (Part C) Known None
Southern RiversMoss Vale Known None
Southern RiversSouth East Coastal Plains Known None
Southern RiversSouth East Coastal Ranges (Part A) Predicted None
Southern RiversSouth East Coastal Ranges (Part C) Known None
Sydney MetroCumberland Known None
Sydney MetroPittwater (Part A) Known None
Sydney MetroPittwater (Part B) Known None
Sydney MetroSydney Cataract Known None