Friday, 16 February 2007

Not an ex-parrot

I hope this is true. The Australian reported that a dead night parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis) has turned up in the Diamantina Lakes region of far SW Queensland.

This is a cause for rejoicing because the night parrot is Australia's rarest bird. Rarer than the orange-bellied parrot, which former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett labelled 'a trumped-up corella'*. And much rarer than the hooded plover, which really ought to behave more furtively.

Night parrots are nocturnal, ground dwelling birds of spinifex grasslands and chenopod shrublands in outback Australia. They are difficult to spot at the best of times but since the early 1900s, they have been almost impossible to find. A team from the South Australian Museum saw live birds in 1979 and that was it ...

... for 11 years, when Australian Museum ornithologist Walter Boles almost tripped over the mummified remains of one at the side of the road near Boulia, western Queensland.

This latest specimen is the first record in 17 years. They must be hanging on by the skin of their beaks.


* It is widely believed that he meant 'jumped up' but who knows what goes on in the mind of Jeff?


Anonymous said...

Howdy Snail,

I believe it was actually Steve Crabb the then environment minister who gave the OBP this horrible epithet. He never did have a good grasp of natural history. Even less of a grasp of politics. Thankfully, he is now a feather duster, as will the dessicated coconut and the iceberg who is all tip.

all the best,

Chuck the yank

Snail said...

Are you sure it was Crabbe? I thought it was Kennett when his plan to move Coode Island was thwarted. Well, not the whole island, obviously, only the storage facilities.