Endangered Swift Parrots Change Mating Habits

Monogamy has flown the coop.

Once monogamous, female swift parrots are mating with more than one male because there just aren’t enough partners to go around.

An ABC Australia report revealed that the swift parrot, now an endangered species, could be wiped off the face of the earth in as little as 15 years. Deforestation, urbanization and private land development are all contributing factors to the decline in the female population, but there is also another culprit: the sugar glider.

Sugar gliders, small marsupials introduced to the ecosystem in Australia in the 19th century, chow down on the pretty parrots while they sit on their nest, protecting their young.

Swift parrots have no natural defenses against the sugar gliders, but scientists hope to alleviate some of the problem by creating nets and cages that are solar powered, opening and closing at night and in the morning, that will protect against unwanted intruders.

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