The Western Ground Parrot (Pezoporus flaviventris) is a Western Australian endemic bird that is perilously close to extinction. This blog aims to compile an archive of information garnered between the 1800s and 2009 about this elusive bird. Up-to-date information about the Western Ground Parrot, including current conservation measures, can be found from the Friends of the Western Ground Parrot website :
Following are extracts from the report "Western Ground Parrot nest search at Waychinicup September and October 2001". A nestling was located but due to the lack of knowledge about what a nestling would sound like, the opportunity for following up was lost. The surveys were from 6 to 13 September and 4-17 October. Communications were not as easy in those pre-Google days as now.
BOC is the Bird Observers' Club.
Note: Another predator known to be common near the swamp was the feral cat. The dry season could have allowed cats to encroach on the islands which in a wetter year would be protected by being ringed with water.
From "Western Ground Parrot nest search at Waychinicup September and October 2001".
The map below (Fig. 4) shows the roosting sites of three pairs of Western Ground Parrots at the time of the surveys (September and October 2001). The roosting areas were 1.2 - 2 ha.in size and approximately 250 - 300 metres apart. Each roosting site was an 'island' slightly above the general level of the swamp and with a wider range of plants than the sedges of the swamp floor. The dense sedges of the swamp floor are about 0.75 metre above ground, and the dense vegetation of the roost sites stands to about 1.5 metres above the ground. A fourth and similar island, near the lake, was not being used as a roost site.
The table below shows that the duration of calling was more than twice as long in October as in September. The number of calls was only 20% higher in October. The map (Map 6)shows the positive listening points in and near the swamp (south-west of lake).
This survey will be covered in some detail in a series of numbered entries.
A nest search at Waychinicup, east of Albany on the south coast of Western Australia was undertaken in September and October, 2001. The unpublished report of the exercise entitled "Western Ground Parrot nest search at Waychinicup September and October 2001: a pilot project", was intended to inform the South Coast Threatened Birds Recovery Team. The whole project was designed and operated on a voluntary basis.
The goals were to find out more about Western Ground Parrot (WGP) ecology and especially information on breeding. In 2001, the WGP was known to be present in only two disparate locations - Waychinicup National Park (WNP), and Fitzgerald River National Park where it was probably declining due to widespread fires. At that time, no WGPs had been located in Cape Arid National Park since 1989. The first part of the plan was to locate WGPs in two separate areas within WNP and to determine where they were roosting. Thereafter, time was to be spent searching for a nest.
Locating birds was done by listening for them in the calling periods pre dawn and post sunset.
The map below shows the coverage (listening points). The positive sites are those from which one or more WGP calls was heard, and the negative sites are those from which no call was heard. The small settlement of Cheyne Beach can be seen at the base of the bay.
The figure below is from 'Report on Western Ground Parrot survey at Waychinicup and Manypeaks, April to October 1998' (see previous posting). Western Ground Parrots have not been recorded in this area for more than 10 years despite some surveys conducted by the Friends of the Western Ground Parrot including placement of Automated Recording Units (Songmeters).
The first systematic survey for the Western Ground Parrot in the Waychinicup Manypeaks area was in 1998. The work was funded by Worldwide Fund for Nature. The co-ordinator was Shapelle McNee and nearly all the other members of the survey team were volunteers. Logistic help was supplied by BirdLife Western Australia (then RAOU WA). This organisation also published the report: "Report on Western Ground Parrot Survey at Waychinicup and Manypeaks April to October 1998" by Shapelle McNee, as a supplement to Western Australian Birdnotes No. 90, June 1999.
Figure 2 from the report shows all the listening points, both positive and negative. The area called 'south-west of lake' is a sedgy swamp with four raised islands with different vegetation within it. The other positive sites were in low and diverse heathland.
A minimum of 29 calling birds was recorded in the Autumn of 1998.