Superb parrot

Polytelis swainsonii

 The Superb Parrot is listed as a Vulnerable species and it is endemic to south-eastern Australia where it is found in the Riverina area of New South Wales and Victoria, and, in winter, in northern New South Wales.

It is a distinctive large, bright grass-green parrot with a long, narrow tail and sharply back-angled wings in flight.

Males have yellow foreheads and throats and a red crescent that separates the throat from the green breast and belly. Females are slightly duller green and have a dull, light blue wash in place of the males’ red and yellow markings.

The Superb Parrot is found along timbered waterways and nearby well-watered woodlands, especially in River Red Gums along the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers. They are usually seen in family groups or small flocks. They roost communally in trees.

 In eastern inland NSW  their core breeding area is roughly bounded by Cowra and Yass in the east, and Grenfell, Cootamundra and Coolac in the west. Birds breeding in this region are mainly absent during winter, when they migrate north to the region of the upper Namoi and Gwydir Rivers. The other main breeding sites are in the Riverina along the corridors of the Murray, Edward and Murrumbidgee Rivers where birds are present all year round. It is estimated that there are less than 5000 breeding pairs left in the wild.

Superb Parrots inhabit Box-Gum, Box-Cypress-pine and Boree Woodlands and River Red Gum Forest.

At breeding time between September and January they nest in deep hollows or hollow limbs, in large trees along watercourses, usually in River Red Gums. The eggs are laid in wood dust at the bottom of the hollow. The female alone incubates and is fed by the male while on the eggs and when the young are very small. As the young get older both parents share the feeding.

Superb Parrots may  forage up to 10 km from nesting sites, primarily in grassy box woodland, where they feed in trees and understorey shrubs and on the ground on grass seeds and herbaceous plants as well as fruits, berries, nectar, buds, flowers, insects and grain.


Birdlife Australia

The Australian Museum