DECEMBER 6 2017 - 3:30PM
A third female wild orange-bellied parrot has been reported at Melaleuca in the state’s South, nearing the end of the migration season.
The critically endangered parrot has been the focus of increasing concern as few females returned this season, but eggs are being laid in nestboxes with teams on the ground monitoring the bird’s progress.
Only 16 birds to date have returned from their annual migration to Victoria, including one captive-bred.
A statement posted by the Orange Bellied Parrot Tasmanian Program on social media said the third female, a juvenile born in March this year, had been spotted.
However the female, named RED RED Z for the identification bands on her legs, disappeared for nine months and was not identified on the mainland or in Tasmania.
The program’s statement said RED RED Z was seen with “unusual” yellow flecked feathers across her back and wings. It’s not known what has caused the unusual colouring, whether disease or genetic issues.
“A member of the Orange-bellied Parrot Tasmanian Program has flown to Melaleuca to examine RED RED Z to assess her body condition, weight and general health,” the statement said.
Federal Threatened Species Commissioner Sebastian Lang said the recovery of the orange-bellied parrot was “a priority” for the federal government.