Swift Parrots (Lathamus discolor)

The Swift Parrots (Lathamus discolor), also commonly referred to as Swift Parakeets, are small parrots, about 24 – 25 cm (~9.6 inches) long.

They are brightly green colored with red around the bill, throat and forehead. The red on their throats are edged with yellow. Their crowns are blue-purple. There are bright red patches under the wings.

One of most distinctive features from a distance are their long, 12-cem, thin, dark red tail. This distinguishes them from the similar lorikeets, with which it often flies and feeds.

Can also be recognized by its flute-like chirruping or metallic “kik-kik-kik” call.

Location and habitat


Breeds in Tasmania and neighboring islands during spring and summer, migrating in the autumn and winter months to south-eastern Australia from Victoria and the eastern parts of South Australia to south-east Queensland. In NSW mostly occurs on the coast and south west slopes.

Swift Parrot Distribution

Habitat and ecology

  • Migrates to the Australian south-east mainland between March and October.On the mainland they occur in areas where eucalypts are flowering profusely or where there are abundant lerp (from sap-sucking bugs) infestations.Favoured feed trees include winter flowering species such as Swamp Mahogany Eucalyptus robusta, Spotted Gum Corymbia maculata, Red Bloodwood C. gummifera, Mugga Ironbark E. sideroxylon, and White Box E. albens.Commonly used lerp infested trees include Grey Box E. microcarpa, Grey Box E. moluccana and Blackbutt E. pilularis.The average clutch consists of 2 to 5 eggs, which are incubated for about 20 daysReturn to home foraging sites on a cyclic basis depending on food availability.Following winter they return to Tasmania where they breed from September to January, nesting in old trees with hollows and feeding in forests dominated by Tasmanian Blue Gum E. globulus.

Ref.: Copyright Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW) (Note: link removed as non-functioning) – info added by Avianweb


Genus: English: Swift Parrots … Dutch: Zwaluwparkieten … German: Schwalbensittiche … French: Perruche hirondelle … Species: Scientific: Lathamus discolor … English: Swift Parrot, Red-shouldered Parakeet, Clink … Dutch: Zwaluwparkiet, Swift Parkiet … German: Schwalbensittich … French: Perruche hirondelle … CITES II … Endangered Species


South-eastern Australia, Tasmania, some islands in Brass Strait

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