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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tasmania - Matt Webb (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tas) ph 03 6233 6952, e-mail email@example.com
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.