Call of the night parrot recorded in the Kimberley

Scientists say there could be up to 50 to 60 night parrots.
By Australian Geographic May 26, 2021 Reading Time: < 1 Print this page

The call of the elusive night parrot has been recorded in the Great Sandy Desert in the southern Kimberley, Western Australia, and scientists say it may be the biggest population they’ve ever recorded. 

Sightings and recordings of the night parrot are few and far between due to its critically endangered status, so this new suite of recordings has ecologists excited.

According to University of Queensland night parrot researcher, Nick Leseberg, who has been working with Ngururrpa and Kiwirrkurra rangers to record the calls over the past six months, there may be as many as 50–60 birds across the across 100 kilometres surveyed.

“It’s probably the largest population that we know of at the moment,” Nick told the ABC.

Nick is used to working with the western Queensland population of night parrots where numbers can be as low as 15 birds across 500,000ha. “Getting those five or six detections over that long area tells us there are probably more birds there that we don’t know about.”

A combination of Indigenous knowledge and new technologies will be critical to conserving the night parrot. “I think we’re only up to eight places right across Western Australia and most of those are just a couple of birds here, and a couple of birds there.

“The key has been transferring the technical knowledge of how to find them to the people who know their country and can get out and look for them.”