Discovery of elusive bird, thought to be extinct for a century until 2013, leads scientists to believe the ‘dumpy budgerigar’ may be more common than thought
A large population of night parrots have been discovered in Queensland’s Diamantina
Tuesday 25 October 2016 07.10 BST Last modified on Tuesday 25 October 2016 07.11 BST
The elusive night parrot has been recorded in Diamantina national park in central-west Queensland, expanding its known range and leading scientists to believe it may not be as rare as previously thought.
The bird, described by Bush Heritage Australia’s Jim Radford as a “dumpy budgerigar” or a “podgy, sort of smallish, green and yellow parrot”, was thought to be extinct for more than 100 years before ornithologist John Young managed to photograph it in 2013.
That discovery was made on an area of reclaimed pastoral lease now known as Pullen Pullen nature reserve.
This month, another team of researchers from the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, led by Young, announced they had found what they believe to be a larger population of night parrots in the nearby national park.
The birds were discovered as part of a broader survey of threatened species in the park. Researchers made seven records of the bird this year: four sightings, three of which included nests with eggs, and three recorded calls.
“My immediate reaction was excitement – this is great, there are more birds out there than we thought,” Atticus Fleming, chief executive of AWC told Guardian Australia.
“But when you start to analyse it, the really significant thing about this is that these birds may be more common than we thought. That is something that we will be developing in the next few years as the study extends into other areas.”
The parrots were discovered in an area of the park bordered by the Diamantina and Mayne rivers.