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          By joining the biggest community of bird lovers in Australia, you can help us make a positive impact on the future of our native birdlife. The members of BirdLife Australia, along with our supporters and partners, have been powerful advocates for native birds and the conservation of their habitats since 1901.

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          Swift Parrot

          Lathamus discolor

          Swift Parrots breed only in Tasmania and then fly across Bass Strait to forage on the flowering eucalypts in open box–ironbark forests of the Australian mainland. While on the mainland, they are nomadic, spending weeks or months at some sites and only a few hours at others, determined by the supply of nectar. During dry years, when the eucalypts’ flowering is poor, Swift Parrots are forced to travel far and wide to find sufficient food, and may congregate into large flocks at sites where it is available.

           To find out more about BirdLife Australia's work with the Swift Parrot, click here.



          The Swift Parrot is a slim, medium-sized parrot with a streamlined shape in flight, angular pointed wings and a long pointed purple-red tail. The body is mostly bright green, with a dark blue patch on the crown. The forehead to throat is crimson and there is a crimson patch at the bend of the wing. The female is slightly duller, with a creamy underwing bar. In flight, the bright green body, dark flight feathers and scarlet underwing coverts are spectacular. They are noisy, active and showy, with a very fast, direct flight. This species is also known as the Red-faced or Red-shouldered Parrot.

          Similar Species

          The Swift Parrot is similar in size to the Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus, and the Musk Lorikeet, Glossopsitta concinna, but the prominent red patches under the wing, long pointed dusky red tail and bright green body are distinctive, as is the flight call.



          The Swift Parrot is endemic to (found only in) south-eastern Australia, breeding in Tasmania. It is found mainly in southern and central Victoria in winter and also in eastern New South Wales.


          Swift Parrots are found in dry sclerophyll forests and woodlands, suburban parks and gardens and flowering fruit trees. In Tasmania, they are often among Tasmanian Blue Gum, Eucalyptus globulus. They roost communally, often in the same tree each night. They are almost always in trees, only coming to ground to drink.



          Swift Parrots feed in the outer canopy of flowering eucalypts, eating mainly nectar, as well as some psyllids and lerps, seeds and flowers. They are active and agile when feeding, often hanging upside down.


          Swift Parrots breed only in Tasmania and many pairs breed close together. Timing may vary with the flowering of the Tasmanian Blue Gum. The nest is in a hollow in the trunk, a branch or spout of a living or dead gum. Pairs may return to the same nest site each year.

          Conservation Status


          Critically Endangered




          Not present










          Not present