We asked researchers from ECU’s School of Natural Sciences about some of their favourite Australian wildlife. In this piece PhD student Tim Doherty talks about his choice, the Kyloring or the western ground parrot (Pezoporus flaviventris).
Why would a bird perfectly capable of flying decide to spend most of its life on the ground?
It’s a question you could ask a western ground parrot, however locating one of these critically endangered birds could prove a challenge – it’s estimated there are less than 110 left in the wild.
The western ground parrot has recently been listed as critically endangered under federal environment law, almost three years since the initial application was made.
This species is endemic to southwest Western Australia and is one of only five species of ground-dwelling parrots globally. The wild population, only 110 individuals, is restricted to a single national park on the south coast where it is threatened by inappropriate fire regimes and predation by feral cats.
Molecular work in 2011 showed this species to be distinct from its eastern cousins. This taxonomic distinction, together with recent population declines, strengthened the need for conservation action. The Department of Environment and Conservation, and the Friends of the Western Ground Parrot group are seeking funding to establish a captive breeding program. The drive is now looking to private and corporate donors following poor commitment from state and federal governments.