The World For Parrots

Fewer parrots every day are able to live in their original homelands. The declining numbers make most of us aviculturists heartsick. Yet aviculture is one of the saving graces for birds of many species. And on top of that, we have exciting news like the recent sighting in Brazil. Possibly for the first time in decades, a Spix’s Macaw was seen flying through the trees. The species has not been confirmed, but it’s a big, blue parrot.

The Western Australian Night Parrot, long thought extinct due to a last sighting in 1912, has reemerged in its former range after 100 years. More animals have gone extinct in Australia than anywhere else on the planet. This amazing parrot is giving them a second chance to help it thrive.

Night Parrot amongst spinifex. Photo Dr. Steve Murphy


Perhaps that’s why wildlife ecologists in Sydney, Australia, are jumping in now while the numbers of yellow-tailed black cockatoos are declining but before the parrot disappears completely. A team has learned that the cockatoos, extremely scared of people, haven’t yet associated cars with humans. So they can net the birds from the car. They have fitted 11 parrots with solar powered GPS trackers so far. With the data from the trackers plus members of the public who call in sightings, they are getting a good idea of where the cockatoos feed, roost, and nest in the breeding season.


Google Images


Many other rescue and revival plans are in place for other cockatoos in Australia, and the most successful ones involve the public in helping to protect and count the bird numbers.


Rick and Nora Bowers/VIREO

We all know parrots need trees to survive, but some parrots are keyed in to a particular type of tree. The thick-billed parrot, for instance, needs pine trees. And the yellow-eared parrot needs wax palm trees. These palm trees are harvested every year for rites in the Catholic church. Luckily, laws were passed making the harvesting of the palms illegal and a reasonable substitute came along.

Yellow-eared Parrot. Alsonso Quevedo Gi.


As populations acquire more amenities and income, taking care of wildlife becomes easier. That is one reason why parrots in Africa still face dismal futures. World Parrot Trust is urgently asking for help from people, even just to spread the word. Follow them on Facebook for current details. Habitat loss, capture for the pet trade, and labeled a destroyer of crops, all these factors are taking their toll. But the worst, in my opinion, is the pet trade. Those smugglers don’t care how many birds they take out of the wild and how many survive to be sold. If there was a way to help them make a living while saving greys and other parrots, we might be closer to a solution.


(c) Diana May



The sad state of African parrots deserves a whole blog on its own. Maybe next month. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.

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