AWC scientists uncover Night Parrot population on Diamantina National Park

AWC scientists uncover Night Parrot population on Diamantina National Park
Field Program
Science: surveys and research

John Young, Senior Field Ecologist, AWC, Diamantina National Park. Inset: One of the first images of the Night Parrot, taken by John Young at Brighton Downs in 2013.

AWC and Queensland join forces to secure largest known Night Parrot population 

  • AWC scientists, led by John Young, have discovered a Night Parrot population at Diamantina National Park (Diamantina)
  • Night Parrots were confirmed at seven locations on Diamantina including:
    • 3 nests (with birds observed in the vicinity of each nest)
    • 1 sighting of a pair drinking
    • 3 records of birds calling (heard by two observers).
  • The discovery represents a major expansion of the known population and distribution for one of Australia’s rarest birds. The Night Parrot was not seen alive for more than a century until rediscovered by John Young in 2013 on land north-east of Diamantina.
  • Habitat analysis and modelling by AWC scientists indicates Diamantina hosts the largest known population of the Night Parrot.
  • AWC and the Queensland Government have joined forces to deliver an Intensive Response Plan including the declaration by Queensland of a restricted access area and the deployment by AWC of specialist staff to help deliver immediate, dedicated conservation.
  • We need your help to support our field team, led by John Young, as we work to protect the Night Parrot, Bilby, Kowari and Plains Wanderer in partnership with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

See ABC coverage here

Large increase in known population of Night Parrots

A joint initiative by Australian Wildlife Conservancy and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) has uncovered the largest known population of the endangered Night Parrot, on Diamantina National Park.

A field survey led by AWC Senior Field Ecologist, John Young – who in 2013 became the first person in over a century to find a living Night Parrot – has confirmed a significant increase in its known population and distribution.

Exploring remote sections of Diamantina National Park by helicopter, all-terrain vehicle and on foot, John Young located three nests, observed birds at these three nests and at another location, and identified birds at three additional locations by their distinctive call. John was assisted by AWC Senior Ecologist, Dr Rod Kavanagh, and a number of experienced volunteers.

AWC scientists have developed a habitat model which indicates a large area of Diamantina National Park is preferred roosting habitat for Night Parrots. It is hoped the model will help identify and protect additional populations of the Night Parrot.

Night Parrot habitat - Diamantina National Park

Two Night Parrot eggs found in nest in spinifex - Diamantina National Park

Four Night Parrot eggs found in nest in spinifex - Diamantina National Park

Intensive Response Plan in place at Diamantina

QPWS and AWC have responded rapidly to the discovery by putting in place an Intensive Response Plan:

  • A Restricted Access Area has been declared by QPWS, which prohibits unauthorised access east of the main road in Diamantina National Park.
  • AWC and QPWS have mobilised additional resources to jointly deliver dedicated on-ground management at Diamantina including:  
    • feral cat control; and
    • removal of old cattle fences.
  • A program of further surveys and research, led in the field by AWC scientists including John Young, will generate additional information on the size and distribution of the Night Parrot population.

AWC has deferred, for at least two years, a proposal for a feral cat-free enclosure at Diamantina National Park while AWC scientists undertake detailed surveys and research on Night Parrots and other endangered species, such as the Greater Bilby and the Kowari.

John Young, Senior Field Ecologist, AWC - camp at Diamantina National Park

We need your help

AWC is working in partnership with QPWS to protect the largest known population of Night Parrots as well as important populations of other species such as the Kowari, Bilby, Grey Falcon and Plains Wanderer. Please help by donating to support our field team, led by John Young, as we implement additional biological surveys and land management at Diamantina.

 Donate now to help save the Night Parrot.