World’s swiftest parrot visits coast


The endangered Swift Parrot – the world’s fastest parrot – has been sighted by local volunteers in the Ironbark Basin.

The Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolor) breeds in Tasmania then migrates to the mainland between March and June each year. It is the world's fastest parrot , the longest migrating parrot and is listed as an endangered species in Australia. Photo: Chris Tzaros Birldlife Australia.
The Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolor) breeds in Tasmania then migrates to the mainland between March and June each year. It is the world’s fastest parrot , the longest migrating parrot and is listed as an endangered species in Australia. Photo: Chris Tzaros Birldlife Australia.

Birdlife Australia Woodland Birds Project Manager Chris Tzaros said the parrot was thought to be the first of the species to migrate from Tasmania to the mainland this year.

“It’s pretty exciting to see the birds at the first site they migrate to.

“The Swift Parrot is the world’s fastest parrot and migrates over a longer distance than any other parrot which is pretty cool,” he said.

The Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolor) breeds in Tasmania and then migrates to the mainland in March – June each year and can be seen in southern coastal Victoria between April and October.

Anglesea, Aireys Inlet Society for the Protection of Flora and Fauna (ANGAIR) member Kaye Traynor said the species visits the area every year but never stays long.

“They are not great in number so it’s special to see them in the area,” she said.

Swift Parrots are listed as endangered on the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 with habitat destruction and loss of old trees with nesting hollows being critical factors in the Swift Parrots decline.

“It’s great to see suitable resources on the mainland for the parrot because they use a high amount of energy and expenditure to migrate and need food and habitat to restore their energy,” Mr Tzaros said.

The endangered Swift Parrot Photo: Chris Tzaros Birdlife Australia
The endangered Swift Parrot Photo: Chris Tzaros Birdlife Australia

Mr Tzaros said there are a number of threats to the Swift Parrot which include the ongoing impact of climate change and close contact with humans.

“We have had three reports this week of adult birds crashing into man-made structures and this is a particular problem when birds fly into suburban areas.

“When food and habitat are low, the birds birds come into close contact with human habitation and are likely to be hit by cars or crash into windows.

“It’s common in Victoria for ten to a dozen Swift Parrots to be reported as dead or badly injured due to this problem, and even more common in Tasmania.”

The parrots migrate back to Tasmania between September and October.

To learn more about interesting fauna on our coast or to get involved in the protection of their habitats visit ANGAIRS website www.angair.org.au.

This story appeared in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column.

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