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
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

 
/News
 

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy 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

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....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.