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Another piece in an Australian ornithological puzzle - a second Night Parrot is found dead in Queensland
- McDougall, Andrew, Porter, Gary, Mostert, Maree, Cupitt, Robert, Cupitt, Sue, Joseph, Leo, Murphy, Stephen, Janetzki, Heather, Gallagher, Adrian, Burbidge, Allan
- Emu 2009 v.109 no.3 pp. 198-203
- Acacia, Cassia, Eremophila, breeding, ecology, extinction, flowering, head, molting, national parks, parrots, shrublands, sowing, streams, Queensland
- We report on a specimen of the Night Parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis) found dead in Diamantina National Park, in western Queensland. It was found on a low dissected tableland near the head of a small creek, in an area vegetated by sparse shrubland of Gidgee (Acacia cambagei), Crimson Turkey Bush (Eremophila latrobei) and Blunt-leaf Cassia (Senna artemisioides var. helmsii). Conditions were dry and the vegetation was not flowering or seeding. It is the second such specimen to be found dead in the region since 1990. The two specimens were found less than 200km apart. Molecular analysis showed that both specimens are female. The latest specimen appears to be an immature undergoing post-juvenile moult. The specimen confirms a breeding event by Night Parrots in the region less than two years before its discovery in September 2006. Together with the 1990 specimen and other recent reports, it can be inferred that a population of Night Parrots exists in the region and that this is an encouraging sign that the species is not simply senescing to extinction. Diamantina National Park likely provides excellent opportunities to further study the ecology and management requirements of this enigmatic species.