Pullen Pullen

Pullen Pullen Reserve is located in Queensland

Established: 2016
Area: 56,000 ha
Location: Queensland
Traditional Owners: Maiawali people

Pullen Pullen Reserve was established as a sanctuary to protect what was, at the time, the only known population of endangered Night Parrots in the world.

This nocturnal, ground-dwelling bird is famous for avoiding detection, and has been described by the Smithsonian Institution as 'the planet’s most elusive bird'. Prior to 2013 the last living specimen had been collected in Western Australia in 1912.

An elusive Night Parrot. Photo Nick Leseberg.
An elusive Night Parrot. Photo Nick Leseberg.
The Pullen Pullen Night Parrot population was discovered in 2013 by ornithologist John Young, who captured several photos and a few seconds of video footage of a live bird.

Global interest in the discovery was so intense that the exact location was kept a closely guarded secret to protect the birds from disturbance.

The Queensland Government’s approval to transfer a former pastoral lease to Bush Heritage recognised the national and international significance of this land for securing survival of the Night Parrot.

We've been working closely with scientists to map the habitat at Pullen Pullen Reserve, learn about the Night Parrot’s biology, and put the necessary conservation planning in place to increase the bird’s chances of survival.

Pullen Pullen is a harsh landscape of Spinifex and Gibber plains interspersed by rocky 'jumpup' mesas and water courses lined by gidgi and Mulga trees.
Pullen Pullen is a harsh landscape of Spinifex and Gibber plains interspersed by rocky 'jumpup' mesas and water courses lined by gidgi and Mulga trees.
Dr Steve Murphy and his team captured more than 100,000 hours of sound data to better understand habitat use and aspects of breeding biology. This information is vital for guiding conservation tasks to protect the Night Parrots from feral animals, wildfire and grazing pressure from cattle and kangaroos.

The species has since been placed on the list of 20 priority bird species as part of the Federal Government’s Threatened Species Strategy.

Sanctuary at Pullen Pullen Reserve is critical for this special bird that still could be lost forever if we don’t work together for the long term to protect it.
– Rob Murphy, Bush Heritage’s Executive Manager North

What Pullen Pullen protects

Pullen Pullen Reserve is located in a bioregion that's under-represented in the National Reserve System.

A Plains Wanderer. Photo Lachlan L. Hall.
A Plains Wanderer. Photo Lachlan L. Hall.
The region is home to other endangered and vulnerable birds such as the Plains-wanderer (critically endangered), Painted Honeyeater(vulnerable), and Grey Falcon, and mammals such as the Kowari and Dusky Hopping-mouse

The reserve’s landscape features sandstone, claystone and siltstone plateaus (or mesas), skirted by long unburnt spinifex that's important roosting and breeding habitat for Night Parrots.

Away from the plateaus, extensive gibber plains support chenopod shrublands that are dissected by braided watercourses lined with gidgee and mulga.

What we’re doing

Felixer cat traps have been trialled at the reserve. Photo Dr Alex Kutt.
Felixer cat traps have been trialled at the reserve. Photo Dr Alex Kutt.
Satellite cameras have been installed to catch poachers and we've been testing new technology to control feral cats – grooming traps.

Predation by cats poses one of the biggest threats to the survival of this rediscovered population of Night Parrots.

"Unlike traditional cat control methods, the grooming traps use a sophisticated sensor system and programmable lures that we hope will target individual cats that have been caught on camera and are known to be a threat."
– trap developer, Dr John Read, of Ecological Horizons.

Cultural values

Pullen Pullen is the Maiawali word for Night Parrot. The sanctuary is on traditional Maiawali country and includes culturally significant areas such as worked stone scatters.

The Night Parrot Recovery Team

The Night Parrot Recovery Team ensures that all research and management activities in support of Night Parrot conservation are well coordinated and based on the best available knowledge. To find out more about the team's composition, hear Night Parrot calls and follow the progress of their research, visit NightParrot.com.au.

Our work at Pullen Pullen to protect the Night Parrot is supported by the Queensland Government’s Nature Assist program.