Orange-bellied Parrot UPDATE!

Posted on Posted in Endangered species, feathered, South East QLD, Tasmania

Wow a lot has happened since December! Our last post on Orange-bellied Parrots deserves a quick update.


For those following along on twitter, or in the news, January has been a rollercoaster of fledglings, foster kids and the devastating loss of 16 captive parrots due to a bacterial infection.


If you missed the action, this is what has been happening:

In mid-January the first wild OBP nestlings fledged. I haven’t seen any official information on how many, but judging from this picture, the ANU researchers look pretty chuffed!



Then we heard about the bacterial infection that killed 16 captive birds at the facility in Hobart. Read this article for all of the information and the measures in place to stop the outbreak spreading further.

When every individual bird is so important for the survival of this species, it was a massive kick in the guts.


And then there’s the cross-fostering.

Five foster babies (from the captive population) were choppered into Melaleuca in early January and placed in nesting boxes, in the hope that they would be accepted and cared for by the OBP mums. The transfer of these days old, 3 gram “jelly beans” has been described as “terrifying” by researchers. At this age, there is no guarantee of survival, and unfortunately after a couple of weeks, four out of the five fostered chicks had died.


But the surviving bub? Well this is his/her (?) latest mugshot posted yesterday:



With the breeding season coming to a close, it remains to be seen how many birds will survive and then make the journey back to the mainland in winter. Well done to all of those involved, let’s hope the numbers are better than last year.


Follow these twitter accounts for some fantastic videos and pics of the gorgeously ugly chicks  @teamswiftparrot and @neophema99 or #operationobp

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