Monday, August 12, 2013

WGP entry in Western Australia’s first bird book

Serventy, D.L. and Whittell, H.M. (1967). Birds of Western Australia. Lamb Publications Pty.Ltd. Perth, WA.

This book was initially published in 1948 and was the first comprehensive guide to Western Australian birds. It contains some illustrations but the Ground Parrot is not among them. The Western Ground Parrot is called here the Ground Parrot and is under the scientific name Pezoporus wallicus which is still the scientific name of the Eastern Ground Parrot. The text below is from the fourth edition. There was a subsequent and final edition by The University of Western Australia Press, in 1976.

Ground Parrot
Pezoporus wallicus

Native names: Boo-run-dur-dee (north of Perth); Djar-
dong-garri, Djar-doon-gur-ree (Perth); Djul-bat-ta (south);
Ky-lor-ing (Albany).
General colour grass-green with wavy barrings above and below
of yellow and dark brown; a prominent red forehead bond; no
yellow on the cheeks; a pale yellow wing stripe. Iris, brown; beak,
light horn colour; legs, long, flesh colour. Length, 12 in.
Young birds lack the red forehead band.
When flushed the Ground Parrot rises suddenly like a quail and
flies off with a zig-zag flight, displaying the pale yellow wing stripe.
It drops suddenly about 50 or 60 yards ahead, when it may be again
flushed. The red forehead band is easily visible on birds which may
be sighted on the ground. 
Distribution: This species is now rare and of restricted distri-
bution in Western Australia, but in the early days it occurred on the
coastal plain from north of Perth to Albany. Up to recently the last
individuals which appear to have been observed by naturalists in this
State were noted by S. W. Jackson at Irwin’s Inlet in 1912 and by
F. Lawson Whitlock in the wet blackboy flats around Denmark in
1913. However, in December 1952 J. W. Baggs saw 4 birds at the
Bow River, near Irwin’s Inlet. In November 1963 members of the
R.A.O.U. saw the birds at Cheyne Beach, where they had previously
been observed by C. Allen in 1947.
Nesting: The nest is usually placed below some low bushy plant,
where a circular depression is scratched out in the soil and lined
with grasses. A nest found by Whitlock at Wilson’s Inlet on Novem-
ber 20, 1913, had 3 fresh eggs; pure white, roundish in shape, fine
and smooth with very little gloss. Size, 27 x 22 mm. Another nest
found by the same ornithologist in the same locality on October 20,
1912, had two nestlings a few days old.

This 1988 photo by Dr Allan Burbidge shows the pale yellow wing stripe as referred to in the WGP entry from Serventy and Whittell's 'Birds of Western Australia'.

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