Night parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 162513845
Monitoring and managing critical feeding and roosting sites of the recently rediscovered and endangered Night Parrot Pezoporus occidentalis
The Night Parrot is one of Australia’s most elusive bird species – once thought to be extinct, but now rediscovered and endangered under IUCN status criteria. Once widespread across arid Australia, no live birds were recorded from 1912 until 2013 when a tiny population was discovered in western Queensland. Conservation organisation Bush Heritage Australia purchased a large portion of the cattle station where the population and habitat was found, creating a 56,000 hectare (138,000 acre) sanctuary for the Night Parrot, now called Pullen Pullen Reserve.
Over the past three years a dedicated ecologist, Dr Steve Murphy, has been collecting key ecological data including the Night Parrot’s habitat preference and use. In 2016 Dr Murphy was able to track an individual using a GPS tag, which led to the discovery that flood plains are the bird’s favoured feeding area. In this landscape flood plains are often heavily impacted by grazing; the objective of this project is to understand the effect of total grazing pressure on the Night Parrot’s key feeding sites and to understand the dynamics of the vegetation in this critical habitat. This data will be essential to understanding how to manage the landscape to best protect feeding and nesting sites and to maximise the potential for successful breeding events in this highly restricted population. With support from the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, Bush Heritage Australia will:
• Establish up to 100 permanent vegetation monitoring transects across known and predicted Night Parrot feeding locations. These will occur across grazed (cattle, cattle and kangaroo, kangaroo only) habitat, and will form the basis of long term monitoring of the Night Parrot habitat over future years.
• Establish a range of well stratified fenced enclosures to examine the effect of grazing and no grazing on Night Parrot food sources, and the relative effect of cattle, kangaroos and other sources of disturbance (i.e. climate variability) on vegetation dynamics over time. This will provide practical information on the management of herbivores at Pullen Pullen Reserve into the future.
Project 162513845 location - Australia, Oceania