We recently welcomed swift parrots to our long-nosed potoroo enclosure
This species of parrot is an important addition to Marwell as they are Critically Endangered and there are only thought to be less than 2500 left in the wild.
Swift parrots breed on the island of Tasmania, 240km South off the coast of Australia, mostly along the south-eastern Tasmanian coast. The parrots migrate to mainland Australia to spend their winters there. Individuals can travel up to 5,000 kilometres between their mainland wintering grounds and their Tasmanian breeding sites, making theirs the longest migration undertaken by any parrot in the world (Tzaros et al. 2009).
Swift parrots depend on the availability of flowering Eucalyptus trees. They feed on the Eucalyptus blossom pollen and nectar, and on lerps (lerps are sugary secretions from sap-sucking insects on leaves). When these are not available they might feed on fruit, berries and seeds occasionally.
Their main threats include logging and human-introduced predators such as sugar gliders. Conservation efforts include swift parrots being listed on CITES Appendix II and they can also be found in at least one protected area.
Our new residents share an enclosure with our long-nosed potoroos and the enclosure has undergone a makeover to reflect the natural habitat of the birds. Our teams added a natural-looking water feature and leaf litter to mimic the dry forest floor which is also great for our potoroo as they enjoy foraging! In the wild, swift parrots drink eucalyptus flower nectar, and have a ‘brush tongue’ to help them collect nectar and pollen from the flowers, so these trees have also been added for them to drink from and perch upon.
Next time you visit, keep an eye out for these stunning, rare birds!