Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Swift parrot

Lathamus discolor

Photo by J.J. Harrison (Wikipedia)

Common name:
swift parrot (en); piriquito-andorinha (pt); perruche de Latham (fr); periquito migrador (es); schwalbensittich (de)

Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

This species breeds in south-eastern Tasmania and migrates north to to winter in mainland Australia, along the south-eastern coast.

The swift parrot is 25 cm long and has a wingspan of 32-36 cm. They weigh 45-75 g.

During the breeding season they occurs predominantly in grassy blue gum Eucalyptus globulus forests. Outside the breeding season they are found in dry sclerophyll forests and woodlands, suburban parks and gardens, especially in areas where there are and flowering fruit trees.

The swift parrot feeds mostly on nectar, mainly from eucalypts, but also eats psyllid insects and lerps, seeds and fruit.

They breed in September-December. The nest is in a hollow in the trunk, or branch of a living or dead gum, 6-20 m above the ground. There the female lays 3-5 white eggs which she incubates alone for about 25 days while being fed by the male. The chicks are fed by the female, but the male is the one who collects food for the whole family. The chicks fledge about 6 weeks after hatching. Each pair may produce 1-2 broods per season depending on food availability.

IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
The swift parrot has a very small breeding range and a global population estimated at just 1.000-2.500 individuals. The population is suspected to be decreasing in line with habitat loss and degradation, which has also caused range contractions. The main threat affecting this species is the ongoing reduction and fragmentation of blue gum forests for agriculture, residential development, plantation timber, sawlog production and clear-felling for woodchips. Over 50% of the original grassy blue gum forests in Tasmania have been cleared. Other threats include competition for the remaining nest-sites by common starlings Sturnus vulgaris and high mortality through collision with windows, vehicles and fences. Habitat loss is also a problem in their wintering areas in south-eastern Australia.


  1. Hello Pedro,
    I was surprised to find my photo on this site since you had not asked my permission to use it. And a little annoyed that you had altered it by cropping off my signature from the corner. You should always get permission from the copyright holder (photographer) before publish their photos on your own site. If the photo is taken from another website, e.g. The Internet Bird Collection, you could ask permission from the webmaster of that site.
    It would be nice if you pay a little more attention to these details in future.

  2. Dear Margaret I though that citing the name of the author and the website from where the image was obtain was sufficient. I apologize and am of course willing to remove this image from my blog immediately if you like. Please just reply to this comment saying that you'd like to have it removed and i will do it as soon as possible.


  3. Dear Pedro,

    Copyright law is complicated and differs from country to country. Because you are publishing large numbers of other peoples photographs, I urge you to get professional advice about where you stand. Copying and republishing other peoples' photographs - without permission - does constitute an infringemnet of copyright in many countries. That you allow advertising on your website may imply that these images are being used for commercial gain.

    In relation to the image above of the Swift Parrot, I ask you to do one of two things. Please, either replace it with the original uncropped version, or take it down. Thank you.

    Yours sincerely
    Margaret Leggoe

  4. Dear Margaret,

    As you can see I removed your image and replaced with another one from wikipedia, which has a clear policy about copyright laws allowing any image to be reproduced elsewhere as long as the author is credited, so this should be ok.

    This blog aims to present information about different bird species, one for each day, the images are only used to illustrate the posts, they are not by any means the focus of this page. The objectives are also not commercial. Thank you for your commentaries and information.