Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Queensland Ground Parrot study 1989

The extract below is from the summary of a report on three years' work on the Eastern Ground Parrot in subtropical Queensland. The report was 'The Ground Parrot Pezoporus wallicus wallicus (Kerr) in Queensland: habitat, Biology and Conservation'. It was written by Dr David McFarland, dated April 1989, and was prepared for: Division of Conservation, Parks and Wildlife, Department of Environment and Conservation, Queensland. Later, much of this report appeared in the journal, Wildlife Research. 

In South-East Queensland,Eastern Ground Parrots used to occur from Fraser Island to the New South Wales border. By the time this work was under way, they were to be found in only three isolated locations in that State.

As well as his scientific study of the Ground Parrot, David McFarland made a pen and ink drawing of a bird in the wild (see below). It has been coloured by a different hand more recently.

Those familiar with Western Ground Parrots will  note that the relation of fire age and the Ground Parrot is very different in Queensland from in WA where birds prefer long unburnt heathland for nesting. The Queensland heathlands are both wetter and warmer than those in Western Australia so plant growth is faster in Queensland, accelerating the cycle. Both the Eastern Ground Parrots of Queensland and Western Ground Parrots, need high plant diversity in their habitat so Ground Parrot populations in both States suffer if the fires are so frequent as to deplete plant diversity. In the 1980s, when study of the Western Ground Parrot began, numbers were much lower than those at the same time in Queensland.

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