Saturday, August 08, 2009

Threatened species – Wallum Ground Parrot

Date: Saturday 22nd August 2009
Location: Noosa National Park

Only three in the world and there’s one right here

Ground Parrot (Pezoporus wallicus)

The Ground Parrot is a stunningly beautiful bird and one of only three ground dwelling parrots in the world. Sightings of parrot have been recorded in the Noosa National Park including Marcoola, Coolum, Emu Swamp, Weyba and Noosa Link section.

During the free spring Wildflower Festival 15 – 29 August, don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about this elusive bird, hear its distinctive song and maybe even catch a glimpse.

Date & Time: 22 August, 5.20 pm – 6.15 pm
Wildflower Festival: 15 – 29 August
What: Join Lyn Boston in the closed heath and sedge lands of Noosa National Park to learn more about the endangered Ground Parrot.
Where: Noosa National Park
Bookings: Sunshine Coast Council on 5420 8200 – Places limited – Bookings essential
Cost: Free

The following article has been written by Lyn Boston from the Bat Rescue Group

The Ground Parrot is listed as a “vulnerable” species under the Queensland Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation 1994. It is a distinctive bright green and yellow bird with a head and body similar in length to a lorikeet. The ground parrot has long toes and a very long yellow-barred green tail.

The ground parrot is a specialist of sedgeland and heathlands on the Sunshine Coast, eats up to 40 different seed types and fashions a domed nest cavity on the ground. As the name suggests the ground parrot spends most of its time on the ground making it particularly available to predators such as feral cats and foxes.

The nest is screened from view, and generally forms a tunnel. The female incubates the eggs and broods the young from September to December. The incubation period lasts for up to four weeks, during which incubation the female is fed by the male, as are the young when they hatch. Clutch size ranges from one to six.

The ground parrot is shy, elusive and a reluctant flyer. If disturbed all you will hear is the flapping of wings, and see a yellowish-green blur before it dives back into the vegetation for cover.

Probably the most interesting behaviour of these birds is the timing of their calls. They are crepuscular, that is they call pre sunrise and post sunset and are rarely heard outside these times. They are first birds to call in the morning and the last ones at night. Often the only way of determining the presence of these shy birds is to listen for their call. The call consists of a series of piercing, resonating whistles, rising in steps, with each note flowing on almost unbroken, but abruptly higher than the preceding note.

The ground parrot’s habitat – coastal heathland – has been under threat for some time along our coastline, as many areas are cleared for housing and development. The ground parrot has found sanctuary in national parks stretching from Marcoola to Noosa. These habitats provide a high abundance and diversity of food, adequate cover and suitable roosting and nesting opportunities for the ground parrot.

Monitoring of this species to determine the distribution and abundance has been undertaken in Noosa National Park for a number of years and will be continued to ensure all possible measures are taken to preserve this special bird.

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