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What Is a Swift Parrot?

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  • Written By: Benjamin Arie
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 11 April 2014
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A Swift Parrot is a variety of bird that is naturally found in Australia. Also known by the Latin name Lathamus discolor, Swift Parrots are considered to be an endangered species. Experts believe that there are only 1,000 pairs of these birds still left in the world, and this number is in decline. Swift Parrots prefer to live in woodland and forest areas, or near rural farms and plantations.

The appearance of a Swift Parrot is rather striking. Most of these birds have a bright and highly visible green color, with blue and red accenting colors on the head. Adults and juveniles are similarly colored, with a few variations. A young Swift Parrot has a pale organge beak and a brown-colored eye area. The male bird tends to have more brilliant coloring compared to the more subdued appearance of the female. Adults have an average length of 10 inches (25 centimeters) and feature long, tapered tails and wings.

Australia is the normal geographic home of Swift Parrots. Birds spend time both on the main continent and on the offshore island of Tasmania. Typically, the parrot will breed in Tasmania and then migrate to southeast Australia. While the birds prefer rural areas, they have occasionally been known to make their homes in more urbanized areas such as golf courses and parks. These types of parrots are known to be quite agile, and are able to maneuver quickly in the air or even hang upside down from trees.

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The diet for a Swift Parrot is diverse, and can include both insects and plants. Seeds, green vegetation, and fruit form the core of the bird's food intake. A Swift Parrot can also eat small insects and larvae when these food sources are available. The prevalence of food can influence the movement patterns of these birds, and Swift Parrots tend to congregate where there are good sources of food.

Swift Parrots have been officially considered threatened since at least 1988, when they were listed on the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act in the Australian region of Victoria. This endangered status was confirmed in 1999, when the birds were included on the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. Many conservation experts believe that the destruction of suitable habitat and a decrease in trees have caused population numbers to drop. The future of the Swift Parrot species is uncertain. Environmental groups in Australia and Tasmania are hopeful that protection measures and increased awareness will allow these birds to thrive in the coming years.

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