Media release

Swift Parrot Recovery Plan undermined as logging continues

Tuesday, 14 May 2024

  • Estimated reading time 2min

Australia’s new Swift Parrot Recovery Plan undermined as logging continues

BirdLife Australia believes Australia’s new Swift Parrot Recovery Plan could oversee the bird’s extinction as it fails to protect critical habitat areas from native forest logging, despite acknowledging the practice contributes to the ‘significant threat’ of habitat loss.

To the left of the frame, a brightly-coloured Swift Parrot is perched in a hunch pose on the branch of a eucalypt, peering towards the camera against a blotched green background.
Swift Parrot by Chris Tzaros

Swift Parrots have declined by two thirds in the last decade with the latest studies estimating there could be fewer than 500 individual Swift Parrots remaining in the wild. *

The bright green and red parrots, a favourite among bird lovers, breed in Tasmania and migrate to Victoria, New South Wales and southern Queensland to feed on flowering gum trees and lerp.

While the Recovery Plan prescribes actions to address other threats faced by the species, it fails to include anything that prevents the logging of critical breeding habitat, which can legally be conducted under Regional Forestry Agreements (RFAs). The Tasmanian Government has recently declared its intent to increase native forest logging in the state.

BirdLife Australia is disappointed in the failure of the Plan to adequately address the critical issue of native forest logging, despite these concerns being communicated consistently to the Government during the Plan’s development, and in response to the Government’s announcement of the Plan last year.

CEO Kate Millar says protecting the breeding and feeding habitat of swift parrots is urgent. “Swift Parrots are tracking toward extinction within 10 years. We can’t wait for the next recovery plan to do better, because swift parrots could easily go extinct before this plan expires,” said Ms Millar.

“The Albanese Government recently announced the introduction of legislation to create a federal EPA, but this body would not be able to intervene to prevent Swift Parrot habitat from being destroyed.” – Kate Millar CEO BirdLife Australia

“Unless we stop logging the Swift Parrot’s breeding and feeding habitat, recovery efforts will not have a meaningful impact as they do not target the primary drivers of extinction. The Albanese Government has committed to halting extinctions, but unless they also commit to halting the logging of native forest in critical habitat, the Swift Parrot could be extinct within a decade.”

Ms Millar said delays to the reform of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act placed the species at even greater risk. “Our current nature laws aren’t protecting nature, as the accelerating decline of Swift Parrots shows us.”

BirdLife Australia CEO Kate Millar is available for comment.

BirdLife Australia Media Enquiries: Please contact James Johnson on 0423 659 324 or at media@birdlife.org.au.



*In 2016, under the previous Recovery Plan, Swift Parrots were uplisted to Critically Endangered due to a severe decline in their population. Estimates in the latest 2020 Action Plan for Australian Birds (Garnett, S.T. and Baker, G.B. eds., 2021. The action plan for Australian birds 2020. CSIRO publishing), the Swift Parrot population has declined by two thirds in the last decade. The latest studies estimate there could be fewer than 500 individual Swift Parrots remaining in the wild (Olah, G., Waples, R.S. and Stojanovic, D., 2024. Influence of molecular marker type on estimating effective population size and other genetic parameters in a critically endangered parrot. Ecology and Evolution, 14(3), p.e11102.).