Swift Parrot

Lathamus discolor


Critically Endangered

The swift parrot breeds only in Tasmania and migrates to south-east Australia making it the longest migrating bird in the world. Their small population of less than 1000 birds is continuing to decline, largely due to loss of habitat in both their breeding range (eastern Tasmania) and non-breeding range in south-eastern mainland Australia. Predation of nesting adult females and their eggs and chicks by sugar gliders is another threat to the population.

It is a slim, medium-sized parrot with a streamlined shape in flight. It has angular pointed wings and a long, pointed purple-red tail. The body is a vibrant bright green colour, with a blue patch on the crown. The forehead to the throat is a startling red with a red patch also at the bend of the wing.

They are noisy, active and showy birds, with very fast flight, probably reaching speeds of up to 90km per hour.


Swift parrots feed in the outer canopy of flowering eucalypts, eating mainly nectar, as well as some psyllids and lerps, seeds and flowers.


Swift parrots breed only in Tasmania and many pairs breed close together. The nest is in a hollow in the trunk, a branch or spout of a living or dead gum.

The adult female lays and incubates three to four eggs and the incubation period is around 19-20 days.

  • Distribution

    Dark green indicates where the Swift Parrot can be found

  • Swift Parrot chick