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Night Parrot, Geopsittacus occidentalis  
Pezoporus occidentalis


Red List Category & Criteria: CR D ver 3.1 (2001)
Year Assessed: 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 Critically Endangered.
History: 1988 - Threatened (Collar and Andrew 1988)
1994 - Critically Endangered (Collar, Crosby and Stattersfield 1994)
2000 - Critically Endangered (BirdLife International 2000)
2004 - Critically Endangered (BirdLife International 2004)

BirdLife International 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 broad-tailed parrot
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.

A relatively 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 and—even when abundant—
was apparently a highly secretive species.

Spinifex 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 Endangered.
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 western Queensland.

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 apparent
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.

A sighting 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.

The night parrot remains one of the most elusive and mysterious birds in the world of ornithology.
Text: http://en.wikipedia.org

The vulnerable malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) occurs within the Unnamed Conservation, and,
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.

Source 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 rarest bird.
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.

The first 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 was the
most productive known, with numerous sightings and another 20 specimens were collected.
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 had apparently
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?


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