Ramping up the fight for Australia's rarest bird

Rob Murphy (Executive Manager North)
Published 27 Apr 2021 
about  Pullen Pullen Reserve  

Flying avocado, fat Budgie... whatever way you look at it the Night Parrot is one of the rarest birds in Australia. Photo by Nick Leseberg.<br/> Flying avocado, fat Budgie... whatever way you look at it the Night Parrot is one of the rarest birds in Australia. Photo by Nick Leseberg.
Feral cats are destructive and dangerous predators, making them one of the Night Parrot's biggest threats to survival.<br/> Feral cats are destructive and dangerous predators, making them one of the Night Parrot's biggest threats to survival.
At Pullen Pullen, Night Parrots nest in hummocks of spinifex grass. Photo by Annette Ruzicka.<br/> At Pullen Pullen, Night Parrots nest in hummocks of spinifex grass. Photo by Annette Ruzicka.
Pullen Pullen's spectacular rocky mesas or 'jump-ups'. Photo by Stephen Kearney.<br/> Pullen Pullen's spectacular rocky mesas or 'jump-ups'. Photo by Stephen Kearney.
Beautiful Maiawali country. Photo by Wild Vista.<br/> Beautiful Maiawali country. Photo by Wild Vista.

I'm thrilled to announce that the conservation of Australia’s critically endangered Night Parrot at our Pullen Pullen Reserve on Maiawali country in central Queensland has been given a $300,000 boost by the Queensland government.

There are believed to be between 10 and 20 Night Parrots at Pullen Pullen making them one of the rarest birds in the world.

The Pullen Pullen population are the only Night Parrots in the world subject to ongoing ecological research.

The $304,500 grant was awarded by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science under its NatureAssist program to fund a number of targeted management actions aimed at protecting the Night Parrot including:

These actions will build on the current understanding of Night Parrot population numbers, trends and breeding habits, and ensure the ongoing protection of Night Parrot habitat.

Protections for Pullen Pullen were strengthened in 2020 when the Queensland Government granted it Special Wildlife Reserve status, awarding it the same level of protections as a National Park. With Queensland the only state or territory to provide national park level protection to private land, the declaration of Pullen Pullen Special Wildlife Reserve was also an Australian first.

We purchased Pullen Pullen in 2016 after the Night Parrot was discovered in the area in 2013 in what was the first confirmed live sighting of the bird in more than a century. Until the discovery of a dead Night Parrot in western Queensland in 1990 and again in 2006, there had been no definitive records since around 1870.

Night Parrots are nocturnal, ground-dwelling and build their nests in hummocks of spinifex grass. Their primary threats are inappropriate fire regimes and introduced predators, particularly feral cats.

Using the results of research conducted on Pullen Pullen, Night Parrots have now been discovered at several locations in Western Australia. Most of these discoveries have been the result of work by Indigenous ranger groups.

Feral cats are destructive and dangerous predators, making them one of the Night Parrot's biggest threats to survival.<br/> Feral cats are destructive and dangerous predators, making them one of the Night Parrot's biggest threats to survival.
At Pullen Pullen, Night Parrots nest in hummocks of spinifex grass. Photo by Annette Ruzicka.<br/> At Pullen Pullen, Night Parrots nest in hummocks of spinifex grass. Photo by Annette Ruzicka.
Pullen Pullen's spectacular rocky mesas or 'jump-ups'. Photo by Stephen Kearney.<br/> Pullen Pullen's spectacular rocky mesas or 'jump-ups'. Photo by Stephen Kearney.
Beautiful Maiawali country. Photo by Wild Vista.<br/> Beautiful Maiawali country. Photo by Wild Vista.