Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Orange-bellied Parrots start to return for the breeding season

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Roger Jaensch, Tasmanian Minister for the Environment, Media Release, 6 October 2021

The Tasmanian Government welcomes the first sightings of Orange-bellied Parrots as they return to Tasmania for the breeding season, following the record-breaking success of last year’s breeding season.

Orange-bellied parrot Photo: DPIPWE
Photo: DPIPWE

Four Orange-bellied Parrots marked to return to Tasmania for the breeding season have been sighted in the past week.

Green E Yellow – a captive-bred bird from Moonlit Sanctuary that was released as part of a juvenile release in 2019 – is the first parrot to be recorded at the species’ remote breeding grounds at Melaleuca, in the State’s southwest.

A further three wild-born birds have since arrived in the past few days, bringing the total so far to four birds. One of the birds was born in 2018 and the other two were born in 2019. 

These sightings signal the start of what is hoped to be another successful breeding season and follow last year’s season which was the most successful recovery effort on record for the critically endangered species.

It is hoped the population census in December will exceed last season’s adult population record, when 51 individual birds returned. The previous record was 35 in 2014-15.

To achieve this, we are supporting a number of initiatives to help the species, such as installing and maintaining nest boxes; providing supplementary food and undertaking planned burns to encourage native food sources; predator and competitor management; and monitoring the survival and breeding of these critically-endangered birds.

We know that captive-bred birds play an important part in the efforts to achieve a viable population in the wild which is why the Tasmanian Government has also invested $2.5 million into a contemporary, purpose-built captive breeding facility at Five Mile Beach.

Orange-bellied parrots Photo: Col Rowe
Photo: Col Rowe

This means that we are able to double the captive breeding capacity for Orange-bellied Parrots and maintain a viable insurance population in the long term and increase the number of birds available for release to supplement the wild population.

The Orange-bellied Parrot Tasmanian Program plays a very important role in protecting and growing the population of this critically endangered species and confirms we are doing what we can to protect this iconic Tasmanian species and ensure its survival for the future.

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