Swift Parrots

Subject: Swift Parrots
From: Chris Tzaros <>
Date: Tue, 07 Jan 2003 09:01:27 +1100
Dear Bob and others,

In response to the question of whether Swift Parrots over-summer on the
mainland, the answer is generally no!  They breed only in Tasmania (the
east and north) and the entire population occurs there from around
October-November to February-March.  

However, there are always going to be exceptions to a general rule, and the
Swift Parrot is one species that, in recent times (especially 2002), has
done some wierd things, dis-proving what we have learnt in some cases!  We
all know that the climate has altered environmental conditions recently and
for birds like Swift Parrots that are highly mobile trackers of eucalypt
flowering and lerp infestation, they are capable of turning up anywhere

Swift Parrots as a rule breed well every second year, in response to the
bi-annual flowering patterns of Tasmanian Blue Gum.  The breeding season of
2001-2002 was highly successful but the 2002-2003 season is apparently
poor, as would be expected.  Is there such a paucity of eucalypt flowering
in Tasmania that these birds have crossed Bass Strait and returned already?
 Or have they not bothered to return?  These are questions that we'll never
be able to answer.

>From the description given, I'd say the birds at Jan Juc were indeed Swift
Parrots, especially if they had the red underwing.  Musk and Purple-crowned
Lorikeets are common in the area at the moment too but they have their
obvious differences (all well pointed out in Simpson and Day).

In concluding, I'd expect anything from a Swift Parrot!  On Christmas Day
in 1995, I saw one bird in Strathfieldsaye (near Bendigo), and that was
before I started drinking!  Last year, I saw them at Marlo on the 6th
February in Banksias!

Happy birding.


Chris Tzaros
Co-ordinator, Threatened Bird Network
Birds Australia (Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union) 
National Office
415 Riversdale Rd
Hawthorn East, Vic., 3123
Ph: 03-9882-2622
Fax: 03-9882-2677
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