Greenfleet restores legally protected habitat for native Australian wildlife, and one species that benefits from our work is the Swift Parrot.  

The Swift Parrot is a critically endangered migratory bird, found only on the east coast of Australia. It migrates from Tasmania through Victoria and NSW up to Queensland annually in the winter months.  

Greenfleet is planting trees to create critical habitat for the Swift Parrot’s migration along the east coast of Australia. 

About The Swift Parrot

This small, green bird, with red, blue and yellow patches on its head and shoulders, weighs a mere 65 grams and is around 25 cm long. The Swift Parrot is the longest-migrating parrot in the world, traveling up to 5,000km between breeding and wintering grounds.

Photo credit: Swift Parrot, photographed by Karl Paustian @juwahnduw 

Why Swift Parrots Are Critically Endangered  

Habitat loss is one of the key reasons for the Swift Parrot’s critically endangered status. This has occurred due to logging, industrial development and agriculture, severely impacting both breeding and wintering grounds. 

Sadly, these unique birds also face natural threats. Sugar gliders in Tasmania pose a significant danger, as the prey on Swift Parrot eggs and adult females tending the nests.   

There is also competition for resources with other birds and introduced species. This includes Rainbow Lorikeets and bees which forage on the same foods. 

Swift Parrot Migration And Breeding   

Swift Parrots breed in summer in Tasmania, primarily along the southeastern coast, and migrate in small flocks of around 30 individuals, flying up to woodlands across southeastern mainland Australia in winter. During extreme droughts, some Victorian populations will travel up to 1,000 km to coastal NSW refuges.  The Swift Parrots nest in old-growth forests to make use of the tree hollows that have formed in established trees. Greenfleet legally protects its forests for up to 100 years, ensuring these native trees have time to grow and provide homes for Swift Parrots and other native species for generations. 

Swift Parrots prefer to breed in Tasmanian Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus), Stringybark (Eucalyptus obliqua), White Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis), and Gum-topped Stringybark (Eucalyptus delegatensis). The loss of these trees means the y are unable to find secure breeding places and sufficient food to survive. The have been observed to not return to a site if the food was scarce the year before.  

Greenfleet is planting these species in regions where these birds are found to encourage Swift Parrots to use these corridors as they migrate up and down the coast. 

Restoring Swift Parrot Food Trees And Habitat 

Swift Parrots feed on nectar and lerp, a sugary substance produced by tiny sap eating insects. The trees that supply this diet includes Yellow gum (Eucalyptus leucoxylon), Grey box (Eucalyptus microcarpa) and Yellow Box (Eucalyptus melliodora). Greenfleet has planted these and other crucial species at a number of our forests to provide suitable feeding habitat for Swift parrots and other native animals. 

There are several Greenfleet forests where we have specifically planted Swift Parrot habitat for them to travel through and feed in: 

Victoria

  • Lyrebird

    on Kurnai Country

    This property is building on Greenfleet’s work in the Gippsland region with specific species planting. Previously cleared for grazing, the revegetation at Lyrebird is delivering climate action and creating wildlife habitat along the Swift Parrot’s migration path.

    Learn More
  • Bromfields Road

    on Boon Wurrung Country

    Adjoining Lang Lang River in South Gippsland, this project aims to create a biodiversity linkage, by connecting to our establishing forest at Wurneet Laang Laang. This revegetation work will provide critical habitat for the Swift Parrot and Strzelecki Koala.

    learn more
  • Ngulambarra

    on Dja Dja Wurrung Country

    Building critical habitat links and restoring Country, Ngulambarra is located north of Wedderburn in Central Victoria. Yellow Gum (Eucalyptus leucoxylon) is one of the species planted on this 340-hectare property previously degraded by farming.

    learn more

New South Wales

  • Reedy Creek

    on Dharug Country

    This property is improving land productivity as well as restoring biodiversity. Located South West of Sydney in NSW, Greenfleet is revegetating Reedy Creek with a variety of native species to help take climate action, and increase the productivity of the farm.

    learn more
  • Matsubayashi Nojo

    on Gundungurra, Wiradjuri and Dhurag Country

    Matsubayashi Nojo is a retired sheep grazing property situated just south of Bathurst on the Central Tablelands in NSW. Greenfleet started revegetating the property in 2017, planting food species for endangered Swift Parrots and Regent Honeyeaters. 

    learn more

How Swift Parrots Help Other Species 

By creating habitat for these critically endangered birds, these forests are also providing food and breeding grounds for other threatened species like the Forty-spotted Pardalote and Regent Honeyeater, as well as Wedge-tailed Eagles, Masked Owls and Red-tailed Black Cockatoos. 

Swift parrots are very effective pollinators, helping propagate it’s favoured home, the Tasmanian Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus), and other native tree species. This is due to their short, thick bill and special brush tongue, which allows them to carry much more pollen than other birds. 

 The presence of Swift Parrots is an indicator of ecosystem health, as they prefer old growth forests and areas with greater food availability, as do many other native species. 

How Greenfleet Creates Biodiverse Habitats

Since 1997, Greenfleet has planted more than 10.8 million native trees and created over 550 forests that will remove 5 million tonnes of CO2-e across their lifetime.  These forests also improve soil and water quality and are legally protected for up to 100 years. This ensures the climate benefits from these native forests will continue beyond our lifetime and be felt by the next generation. 

Read our Annual Impact Report here view our interactive forest map here to see where our forests are growing.  

Together, we can grow our forests, restore habitat and grow climate hope for the next generation. 

More stories

NAIDOC Week 2024

NAIDOC Week is a time to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ need for equality, by highlighting the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians.