Par­rot not dead, ex­pired, gone to his re­ward

The Times (South Africa) - - News -

● A feather from one of the most elu­sive birds in the world has been found in south Aus­tralia, the first proof in more than a cen­tury that it lives there, wildlife ex­perts said on Thurs­day.

The “night par­rot” ranks among the world’s rarest avian species and was thought to be ex­tinct un­til an in­trepid Aus­tralian nat­u­ral­ist pro­vided pho­to­graphic ev­i­dence of one in Queens­land state in 2013. It has since also been spot­ted in western Aus­tralia.

The ex­pert be­hind the Queens­land sight­ing, John Young, and fel­low ecol­o­gist Keith Bellcham­bers, from the Aus­tralian Wildlife Con­ser­vancy, have now shown it is also liv­ing in south Aus­tralia.

The pair found a feather from the small, yel­low­ish-green bird in the nest of a ze­bra finch around re­mote Lake Eyre while fol­low­ing up on blurry im­ages from a cam­era trap in the area.

“Keith and I looked at many ze­bra finch nests be­fore fi­nally an un­mis­tak­able small green feather ap­peared within the fresh base lin­ing of one of the nests,” said Young.

“There was no doubt that this was the feather of a night par­rot. The fresh­ness of the ze­bra finch nest in­di­cates the feather might have been col­lected within a few hun­dred me­tres in the past few weeks,” Young said.

The cu­ra­tor of or­nithol­ogy at the Western Aus­tralian Mu­seum con­firmed the find.

The next step is to map the dis­tri­bu­tion of the species, which was last recorded at Lake Eyre in 1883 and as­sess the pop­u­la­tion size us­ing song me­ters and cam­era traps, said Young.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.