Support for rare parrot shows promising results

Important work to save Western Australia’s rarest bird, the Western Ground Parrot from extinction is continuing, with some encouraging results.

It is thought there are fewer than 150 Western Ground Parrots left in the wild.

Researchers and volunteers have completed a wild-to-wild translocation of seven birds this year to a remote site east of Albany to support the establishment of an additional population.

These parrots join seven released in 2021 as part of a threatened species partnership between the Western Australian and Australian Governments, non-government organisations and community volunteers.

The monitoring, site management and capture of the birds was led by Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, and included veterinary and animal husbandry support from Perth Zoo to ensure the welfare of the translocated parrots.

Staff from BirdLife Australia as well as skilled volunteers have also assisted with the translocation, with the support of Friends of the Western Ground Parrot and South Coast Natural Resource Management.

Ongoing monitoring of parrots released to the new location last year has recorded calling birds, providing evidence that they are persisting in their new home.

More recent monitoring of the source population in Cape Arid National Park and Nuytsland Nature Reserve has found good numbers of calling birds, suggesting that intensive feral predator management over the past decade has been successful.

Feral predator removal and fire management has also been carried out at the new home of the parrots to ensure they have the best chance of survival. The birds are fitted with radio transmitters for monitoring.

WA’s Environment Minister Reece Whitby thanked stakeholders and volunteers for their role in the program.

“This translocation wouldn’t be possible without the successful partnership between dedicated volunteers, State and Federal Government agencies and not-for-profit organisations working in unison for a positive outcome for the species,” he said.

The Australian Government’s Threatened Species Commissioner Dr Fiona Fraser visited Cape Arid recently to meet with recovery staff and volunteers and participate in monitoring and translocation preparations.

The Western Ground Parrot is one of one hundred species prioritised for recovery by the Australian Government. Recovery actions for this flagship species will also benefit other threatened species such as the Western Bristlebird and the Noisy Scrub-bird.