Rare proof of life for elusive Aus parrot

2013-07-04 11:33

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney – An intrepid Australian bird-spotter has captured the best evidence in a century of a live "night parrot", a rare creature that ranks among the world's most enigmatic avian species, scientists said on Thursday.

John Young, a naturalist photographer, presented photos and video of the small, yellowish-green parrot to experts at the Queensland Museum this week which government scientist Leo Joseph said "make it seem very clear that he's found the bird".

Researchers feared for decades that the nocturnal, desert-dwelling parrot was extinct, with no sightings between 1912 and 1979 and only a handful since, prompting the Smithsonian Magazine in 2012 to list it at number one among the world's five most mysterious birds.

The last live specimen was captured 100 years ago and though two dead birds have been found, in 1990 and 2006, no one has been able to offer definitive proof of a live sighting until now.

It is listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which lists the parrot as having been "rediscovered" in 2005, when two biologists spotted the elusive bird but were unable to photograph it or collect samples.

There are only about 50 to 250 night parrots in the wild, according to estimates cited by the IUCN.

"No one's been able to go that extra step and find a live one and find it repeatedly, that's been one of the big stumbling blocks with night parrots," said Joseph, director of the Australian National Wildlife Collection at government science agency CSIRO.

"It's huge (news) in the ornithological world."

Most of what is known about the species – called "Pezoporus occidentalis" – has been gleaned from 25 specimens, largely captured during the 1870s in South Australia's Gawler Ranges. They are now scattered across the world's institutions.

Joseph said it was a "genuinely rare" species that appeared to have dwindled in numbers due to grazing and feral animals towards the end of the 19th century.

"This aura of myth and intrigue grew up around it," the scientist told AFP.

"We can't sort of progress any further until we find the birds and hang onto them."

Young, who advertises himself as "The Wild Detective", is keeping the nesting site in Queensland's remote Lake Eyre basin a secret, refusing to share it even with CSIRO or hand over his recordings of its song.

He had invested "enormous amounts of time" in tracking the secretive bird and was now seeking private funding to continue his surveillance and conservation work, Joseph said.

Presenting his findings in Queensland on Wednesday, Young said he would "rather go to jail than tell anyone where I found it", according to media reports of his invitation-only talk.

"The last thing I want to see is hundreds of people out there with night lights," he said.      

Read more on:    australia  |  animals
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Sun energy rises over Karoo

2014-10-01 21:08
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
5 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Wine
 

You HAVE to see this MTB Tsunami Fip!

You might not know what a Tsunami Flip is, but just watching this will turn your eyes into saucers. Check out this first-ever MTB Tsunami Flip in contest here.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Bear Grylls’ top 10 things kids should do outdoors
Mountain unicycling – say WHAT?
Top tips to ensure you’re running right
Stand-up paddle boarding a great workout

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Pushing too hard and doing too much may have left you feeling drained and overwhelmed. You may need time out to recharge and reset...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.