Golden Shouldered Parrot Recovery Plan Endorsed

Summary:

The Golden Shouldered Parrot is an endangered species and a close relative of the now extinct Paradise Parrot. A recovery plan has been produced and is the first plan to be endorsed by Queensland and subsequently under Commonwealth legisaltion.
Date: 28 April 2000

The Golden Shouldered Parrot Psephotus chrysopterygius is closely related to the extinct Paradise Parrot P. pulcherrimus and is listed as endangered under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act. There are less than 2000 individuals left and numbers are still declining. The recovery plan for this bird is the first plan produced by the Environment Protection Agency to be fully approved and is adopted under the Commonwealth Endangered Species Protection Act.

This bird occurs at less than five localities on cattle stations in far north Queensland and their ranges are reducing. It lives in tropical savanna woodland with a northern population around the headwaters of the Morehead River and a southern population of about equal size around the headwaters of the Staaten River.

The Golden Shouldered Parrot roosts and nests in termite mounds found only in Cape York Peninsula's tropical woodlands and eats annual and perennial grasses. The most immediate threats to the Golden Shouldered Parrot seem to be predation and a shortage of food at the beginning of the wet season. The two causes for these problems are most likely to be the overstocking and grazing of cattle and the reduction of the amount of fires in the area. With less frequent fire, the woody plants - particularly broad-leaved tea tree Melaleuca viridiflora - have increased. This reduces the amount of grasses and gives Butcher Birds (the Parrot's natural predators) extra places to hide in.

Research is under way at Artemis Station in Cape York Peninsula to determine the best property planning for the Golden Shouldered Parrot, as well as other declining tropical birds that are also dependant on grass seed. There is an attempt to return the Parrots to their former distribution. Actions made so far include the construction of feeding stations; regular storm burning of both areas of habitat; the experimental reduction of shrub density and the development of a pastoral management strategy to keep stocking rates at a level that is compatible with the Parrot. A paddock has also been fenced off by Green Core Volunteers to enable continued trials of fire and grazing regimes

The Parrot Society UK, wish to thank Mike Gregory the Queensland Network Coordinator for his kind permission to publish this item.

Mike Gregory - Queensland Network Coordinator
tsnqld@ozemail.com.au

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