Nature conservation

Threatened species

Superb Parrot - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Polytelis swainsonii
Conservation status in NSW: Vulnerable
Commonwealth status: Vulnerable
Profile last updated: 01 Dec 2017


The Superb Parrot 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 throughout eastern inland NSW. On the South-western Slopes 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.

Habitat and ecology

  • Inhabit Box-Gum, Box-Cypress-pine and Boree woodlands and River Red Gum forest.
  • In the Riverina superb parrots nest in the hollows of large trees (dead or alive) mainly in tall riparian River Red Gum forest or woodland. On the South West Slopes and Southern Tablelands nest trees can be in open Box-Gum woodland or isolated living or dead paddock trees. Species known to be used are Blakely’s Red Gum, Yellow Box, Apple Box and Red Box.
  • Superb Parrots nest in tree hollows with an entrance diameter of 6 cm or wider, and that are at least 3.5 m above the ground
  • Nest in small colonies, often with more than one nest in a single tree.
  • Breed between September and January, with nesting typically from October to late December.
  • May forage up to 10 km from nesting sites, primarily in grassy box woodland.
  • Feed in trees and understorey shrubs and on the ground and their diet consists mainly of grass seeds and herbaceous plants. Also eaten are fruits, berries, nectar, buds, flowers, insects and grain.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Plains Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthMoonie-Barwon Interfluve Predicted None
Brigalow Belt SouthNarrandool Predicted None
Brigalow Belt SouthNorthern Outwash Known
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Outwash Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthTalbragar Valley Known None
Cobar PeneplainBarnato Downs Known None
Cobar PeneplainBoorindal Plains Known None
Cobar PeneplainCanbelego Downs Known None
Cobar PeneplainLachlan Plains Known None
Cobar PeneplainNymagee Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsBogan-Macquarie Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsCastlereagh-Barwon Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsCulgoa-Bokhara Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsLouth Plains Predicted None
Darling Riverine PlainsWarrambool-Moonie Known None
Murray Darling DepressionDarling Depression Known None
NSW South Western SlopesInland Slopes Known None
NSW South Western SlopesLower Slopes Known None
OceanSouth Pacific Ocean Predicted None
Other StateACT Known None
Other StateQLD Predicted None
RiverinaLachlan Known None
RiverinaMurray Fans Known None
RiverinaMurrumbidgee Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBathurst Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBondo Known None
South Eastern HighlandsCrookwell Known None
South Eastern HighlandsHill End Known None
South Eastern HighlandsMonaro Known North of Hoskinstown
South Eastern HighlandsMurrumbateman Known None
South Eastern HighlandsOberon Known None
South Eastern HighlandsOrange Known None