The critically endangered parrot once lived in coastal heathland ranging all the way from Dongara to Israelite Bay. Today only one population of less than 150 birds is known to survive at Cape Arid National Park and adjacent Nuytsland Nature Reserve in the remote southeastern corner of Western Australia. In 2021 and 2022, 14 wild birds have been translocated to an area where the birds used to live.
The Western Ground Parrot is a medium-sized ground-dwelling bird with a rather long tail. Its green, yellow and black plumage offers great camouflage. Unlike most parrots, this bird is very secretive spending most of its day feeding close to the ground in dense, floristically diverse heathland. It is capable of flying, but generally will only fly between roosting and feeding areas or when flushed. It flies low over the vegetation when flushed. Only at dawn and dusk it gives a call which has been likened to the sound of an old-fashioned boiling kettle.
Its varied diet consists of seeds, flowers, green fruit and even leaves. While the bird will feed in bushland recovering from fire, it requires long unburnt habitat for shelter and also to breed.
Very little is known about the parrot’s breeding habits in the wild with the last active nest discovered in 1913. It was described as a slight depression among low prickly vegetation containing 3 eggs. Fledglings have since been recorded between September and November. The young leave the nest before they have reached their full flying capabilities.
After many years of intensive research and a comprehensive risk assessment, in April 2021 DBCA undertook the first translocation of wild birds from Cape Arid to an area to the east of Albany where they were previously common. Seven birds were transferred to this area. See our video on the Blog Saving Kyloring- the story of the 2021 trial translocation.
In June 2022 a second translocation was undertaken and 7 more birds were released into the translocation area. See our Winter/Makuru and Summer/Birak Newsletters on our Blog for more about this story.