Parrot not dead, expired, gone to his reward
● 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.