Animal Diaries Archive
Rare little Gems
29 June 2007
This week I'm in serious mode and I would like to address an issue that involves a small little grainivore known as the Golden-shouldered Parrot. They are closely related to the extinct Paradise Parrot and more-distantly related to the secure Hooded Parrot.
The male is brilliant turquoise with flashes of yellow on his wings and a salmon pink belly. The female is green with turquoise belly. Even though they have little wings they can certainly out lap all the other parrots. Gilly and Gabby have recently taken residence in the Rainforest Aviary with their son, Gus. Every morning just before the 9:30 feed-out the parrots like to stretch their wings and check out their vocals. This awesome display is truly breath-taking with the turquoise/green flashes that are quicker than lightning.
However, getting back to the issue. The Golden-shouldered Parrot is listed as endangered under the IUCN Red List. This species occupies the tropical savanna woodlands and is restricted to far north Queensland. The population is fewer than 2000 individuals and though it declined in parts of its range between 1992 and 1998, it is expected this reduction may now have stabilized.
The Golden-shouldered Parrot construct nests in termite mounds, along the edge of grassy drainage flats. If the clutch is laid before the wet season has ended they are likely to abandon because the termite become active and build over their chambers. The Golden-shouldered Parrot feeds on a range of annual and perennial grasses. Short-lived rains influence access to foods, while repeated or extended rainfall causes changes in the abundance of food. But this is made worse when fire patterns are altered and intense grazing results in an increase in the density of woody shrubs.
What is being done? Queensland Parks and Wildlife first action is to introduce a pattern of controlled burning to help promote their survival. Second action is to provide supplementary food during the wet season. Third action is to develop and refine a pasture management strategy. And lastly with the Australia Zoo motto 'conservation through exciting education' we'll hopefully stop this little gem from flashing away before our eyes by promoting awareness of their plight.
Our Amazing Golden-shouldered Parrots
This parrot has, over the years, become increasingly endangered. Even when it was first discovered in 1858, it only had a limited distribution, so the numbers i ...more