Breeding and biology of the Swift Parrot. PART II

November 27th, 2015 | by Daniel Nuijten
Breeding and biology of the Swift Parrot. PART II
Breeding
0
Read also the first part of this article:

Breeding and biology of the Swift Parrot. PART I

a

Sexing them visually is possible. In general, males are brighter coloured than females. Also young females have a white band under the wings, while the band in young males is narrower and broken. When getting older the band in the males the white gets less and in some males even disappear. But individual birds vary and the sexual differences mentioned above here do not give you 100% certainty.

My nestboxes were made of plywood wood – 40 cm deep and 18 cm square with an entrance hole of 6 cm. As the birds do not use them to sleep in I do remove the nest boxes after the breeding season. I prefer to start quite early with breeding of Swift parrots so I put up the nest boxes at the end of March. I let my pairs breed maximum 2 rounds even though I have years they won’t start again after the young of the first round have fledged.

a

swift

Young bird offered at the bird market in Reggio Emilia (c) Lubomir Tomiska

a

Currently I am reconsidering an aviary set up for Swift parrots (Lathamus discolor) where I am thinking to provide them a larger aviary full of Eucalyptus  to stimulate them. Eucalyptus globulus (one of the main food sources for swift parrot) is available in Europe but the height of this tree makes it unsuitable for an aviary therefore I am checking which smaller species are available here and if they can survive our European winter.

READ  All about Hyacinth Macaw keeping and breeding. PART I

We have two mutations in Europe, one is faded, an autosomal recessive mutation where the young are born with red eyes, who become dark-brown later. The green is more yellowish with the feathers on the belly being pale. Faded causes quantitative and also qualitative reduction of the black eumalenin in the feathers which leads to lighter coloration .

The second one is misty which is inherited as dominant mutation. We can have single and double factor birds. The black eumelanin in the cortex, the outer part of the feather also containing the yellow and red psittacin, is diminished while the eumelanin in the medulla, the core, where most black eumelanin is located is not diminished but is cloudier. This gives the birds their typical colouration.

a

a

Both mutations are not very different from the wild-form birds. We also had reports from a par-blue mutation but this was found not to be true. Of course there is also a red-bellied swift, which is like with the red-bellied Mulga parrot and the red-bellied Blue Bonnet a selection form.

An interesting fact that while the species is very common in Europe, this is not the case in other parts of the world. The species is uncommon in the U.S. and surprisingly not common in aviculture in Australia. Joseph Forshaw mentions in Australian Parrots that climate might play a role, which could be true as most Swift Parrots are bred in those parts of Europe with a temperate climate which has summers comparable to the ones in Tasmania.

a

chick

Swift parrot chicks in the nestbox (c) Bill Boyd

a

European breeders do not face the same hot climate as our colleagues in central Australia. Forshaw suspects that domestication might play a role as well, which might be true, but we are unable to check if European bred birds would breed easily in Australian aviaries. The import ban is preventing such experiment so for now we can only speculate.

READ  Breeding of the Lesser Jardine’s Parrot. PART I

I hope the Swift parrot will gain popularity in aviculture outside Europe as they are very interesting birds. Also the wild population is in danger and could use all the attention and support we can give. Even if our captive birds will never be used for reinforcement of the wild population they can fulfill an ambassador’s role and help raise support for the conservation work on Tasmania.

a

Read also the first part of this article:

Breeding and biology of the Swift Parrot. PART I

a

author: Daniel Nuijten

Title photo: (c) Jade Craven, This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

DON'T MISS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Parrot News Blog | Parrots Daily News