The biggest threat for the endangered Swift Parakeet? The Sweet Marsupial

March 10th, 2015 | by LubosTomiska
The biggest threat for the endangered Swift Parakeet? The Sweet Marsupial
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The endangered Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolor) has to face attacks of the Sugar Glider. The australian team of researchers found out that this mammal destroys the most of all nests. „And that predation was so severe that, on average across mainland Tasmania, only 17 per cent of swift parrot nests were actually successful and all of those failures were as a result of sugar gliders eating the swift parrot, either the females or their eggs or both,” explained Dejan Stojanovic for ABC News. Dejan leads the team and is involved in the research of this issue more than three years.

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File:Sugar Gliders eating Mealworms.jpg

This small mammal stays behind predation of the the Swift Parakeet in Australia. Photo: (c) OberonNightSeer. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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According to the results of this study, Sugar Gliders are the only animals which predate the Swift Parot. This impact was increased by the lost of their natural environment as Tasmania is deforested intensively nowadays. “The important part of our research is that we found out that predation is really closely linked to the availability of old growth forests across Tasmania,” Stojanovic said. The reduction of forested areas forces animals to share their living space and that’s not good. In Tasmania the Sugar Glider is considered as an invasive species which was brough there in 1835.

The fastest parrot of the world

Swift parrots are nectarivorous like lories. This specialist species is dependent on blossoms of the Tasmanian blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) which has strongly unbalanced productions of nectar. Only every third year these trees provide sufficient amount of the „sweet water“ for its consumers. More than a half of eucalyptus trees in the southeast Australia and Tasmania was destroyed because of the agriculture, constructions or the wood processing industry. Such limitation of natural food sources has a serious impact on the population size of the Swift Parrot.

READ  Bushfires in Australia have pushed the Western Ground Parrot even closer to the brink

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File:Lathamus discolor Bruny 2.jpg

Swift Parakeet, (c) JJ Harrison. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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While this species is quite common in captivity in the wild has become rare. We can find there last 2000 individuals. That’s why IUCN ranks it as endangered. By the way, this parrot is the fastest species of the order. It can fly about 100km per hour. Such high speed can be deadly in suburban areas where glass obstacles often occur. During the winter the Swift Parrot flies to the southeast coast of the australian continent.

 

Title photo: wiki commons, © Frank Wouters

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