Red List Category & Criteria: CR D ver 3.1 (2001)
2007, Assessor/s: BirdLife International
Evaluator/s: Bird, J. & Butchart, S. (BirdLife International
Red List Authority)
Justification: After no confirmed records since 1990, despite
several dedicated searches and publicity campaigns, this species
was rediscovered in 2005 in the Pilbara region of Western
Australia. It may occur at low density elsewhere in its former
range, because it is easily overlooked. It is likely to have
declined as a result of a number of threats, and the remaining
population may be tiny. For these reasons it is treated as
History: 1988 - Threatened (Collar and Andrew 1988)
1994 - Critically Endangered (Collar, Crosby and Stattersfield
2000 - Critically Endangered (BirdLife International 2000)
2004 - Critically Endangered (BirdLife International 2004)
2007. Pezoporus occidentalis. In: IUCN 2007. 2007 IUCN Red
List of Threatened Species. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded
on 14 April 2008..
The Night Parrot, Pezoporus occidentalis, is (or was) a small
endemic to the continent of Australia.
The species was originally placed within its own genus, Geopsittacus,
(e.g. Forshaw & Cooper, 1989[verification needed],
also Gould, 1865),
but most authors now prefer to place it within the genus Pezoporus
together with the Ground Parrot.
small parrot, the species' colour is predominantly a yellowish green,
mottled with dark brown, blacks and yellows.
Predominantly terrestrial, taking to the air only when panicked
or in search of water,
the night parrot had furtive, nocturnal habits andeven when
was apparently a highly secretive species.
grass with seed heads which seem to glow in the afternoon sun
Karrijini National Park and the Pilbarra
Its natural habitat appeared to be the spinifex grass which still
dominates much of the dry, dusty
Australian interior; other early reports also indicate that it never
strayed far from water.
The population size of this species is currently a matter of debate.
Estimates range from extinct to not threatened at all.
It is, however, currently listed on the IUCN Red List as Critically
Indeed, there have been only a few reliable records of the bird
since the 1880s, with the last authenticated report dating from
2006, when rangers found a dead night parrot which had flown
into a barbed wire fence in the Diamantina National Park in south
Prior to this, the last reliable sightings were in 1990 when a roadkill
specimen was discovered
by scientists returning from an expedition in a remote part of Queensland
and 1979 when
a team of scientists from the South Australian Museum spotted an
flock of the birds in the far north of South Australia.
Ornithologists continue to patrol the outback for signs that the
species still thrives, even
checking the old nests of other birds, such as the Zebra Finch,
for fragments of night parrot feathers.
of two live Night Parrots in April 2005 has recently been confirmed
by the Birds Australia Rarities Committee. These birds were seen
near Minga Well, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
parrot remains one of the most elusive and mysterious birds in the
world of ornithology.
vulnerable malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) occurs within the Unnamed
although not reported from the region in recent decades, it is conceivable
that the enigmatic
and critically endangered night parrot (Geopsittacus occidentalis)
is still present.
Photograph by ROC Tours Australia Pty Ltd
February 16, 2007
ONE "dead" parrot in Queensland has risen phoenix-like
from the ashes,
as another has been given its last rites.
The Australian has learned that National Parks
and Wildlife Service officers have found a dead night parrot
in the state's far west, confirming the survival of Australia's
In a discovery of international significance, the parrot was
found in November in the
Diamantina Lakes region after it flew into a barbed-wire fence.
The Government has kept the find secret to avoid birdwatchers
searching for night parrots
while it does a survey to find more.
A road-killed night parrot found in 1990 near
Boulia, in northwest Queensland,
by Australian Museum scientists was the first confirmed record
of the species since 1912.
known specimen of the Night Parrot was collected by John Mcdouall
Stuart in October 1845,
north of Coopers Creek, far northern South Australia, as part of
an expedition led by Charles Sturt.
The Night Parrot was not formally named until 1861, when John Gould
described it as Geopsittacus
occidentalis, based on a bird collected in 1854 near Mount
Farmer, Western Australia.
Until the 1870s, sightings
appeared to be very occasional. The period between 1870 and 1890
most productive known, with numerous sightings and another 20 specimens
Of the 22 museum specimens collected last century, F. W. Andrews,
working for the South Australian
Museum, collected 16, all during this period.
Following this period
of abundance, there was a marked decline in confirmed sightings.
They became rarer
from the mid 1880s, stopping almost completely by 1900.
A number of writers who knew the birds in 1875-1885 noted that it
gone from their area entirely since then. Of the few sightings of
Night Parrots between 1890
and the 1930s, the only specimen was one accidentally shot in Western
Australia in 1912.
Could need a few more pictures for illustrations...... Who wants
to go for them down there in Australia?