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29 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Parrots
Order Psittaciformes
*shor deep downward pointing bill
*two toes pointing foward and two pointing backward
*short neck
*prominent eyes
*large head and compact bulky body
Colours of Parrots
Male and female are similarly coloured in some spp
Some spp females are plainer
Eclectus parrot- female more brightly colored
What they eat
Eat seeds or nectar. Some fruit, leaves, insects.
Beak- tough can break open nuts, can climb around in branches
Lorikeets- brushes on tongues
Flock
Seeds and nectar
-very abundant, not worth defending
Safer in groups
-dilution effect, many eyes effect
Monogamous
Pair for life
Some spp, share incubation
some females incubate (fed by male)
Most all spp- both parents feed nestlings and fledglings
Eclectus parrot- only cooperative breeding parrot
Groups
Cockatoos
Lorikeets
Others
Cockatoos
Large parrots with moveable crests
Most eat seeds
Robust bills
12spp in OZ- spp appear to originated here
Require large nesting hollows b/c they are large
Popular as caged birds
Lorikeets
Mostly inhabit forests and wetlands
Mostly eat nectar, pollen and flowers
Longer thinner bill than other parrots
Flowers are ephemeral- tend to wander widely to search for food
Garish colors are good camouflage
Only in Ausralasuian region
6spp
Rainbow lorikeet
Trichoglossus haematodus
Eastern and northern OZ
Do well in cities- in Brisbane
Gregarious and aggressive
Nest in tree hollow
Pair for life
OTHER parrots
related to parrots with a worldwide disbn, though mostly southern hemisphere
~30spp in OZ
rosellas, budgerigars, grass parrots
Conservation issues
Introduced predators
Habitat destruction
Poaching for the pet trade
Shortage of tree hollows for nesting
Changes fire regimes
*worse for spp w/ slow breeding rates
Night parrot
Geopsittacus occidentalis
Nocturnal
Ground dwelling
Once widespread in interior
Feed on spinifex seeds and to hide in daytime
Last specimen was collected in 1912- was thought to be extinct.
REDISCOVERY!
not seen from 1912-1990
Another found last november in Diamantia Lakes region in W QLD
Prob effected by cats and foxes and damage to vegetation by sheep, cattle and rabbits.
Ground Parrot
Disjunct disbn'
Status with tasmanian ppln best shape
Most time on ground
Preferred habitat in open heath
Can only be in heath after a fire (~5-15 eyars post fire) frequency is necesary
Eat- seeds of grasses, sedges and herbs
BREEDING
Nest in ground in grass nest (night parrot too)
Very secretive birds, little known
Rarely seen- surveyed by listening for calls at sunset
Orange-bellied parrot
Critically endangered
single breeding ppln left with ~180 adults
Breeds in SW tasmania in summer
Migratory- leave tasmania in Feb/Mar to Victorian coast
Counted every winter
Declined since 1940s
Causes of decline in orange bellied parrots
Habitat modification and increased competition in winter habitat
Period of heavy poaching overlapped with early period of habitat loss
Predation by foxes and cats
Disease
Migration is tough, young must do it for the first time w/o parents
Recovery plan for orange-bellied parrots
Jointly developed by Victoria, Tasmania, South
Australia, the federal government, Birds Australia and
the World Wide Fund for Nature

3rd recovery plan: 1998-2002

• Increase area of winter habitat by 10%
• Maintain quality of breeding habitat by fire
• Increase survival of adults over winter by 10%
• Increase number of birds counted during winter census
by 100%
• Release 20-30 captive bred birds into wild every year
Orange-bellied parrots- recent issues
• Issues with development of a big wind farm in Victoria
• Record federal government funding for the species
• Last year there was news of a disease wiping out captive
populations in Tasmania
Paradise parrot
Extinct?
Last reliable report in 1920s
Ate- grass seeds in savanah woodlands
Mostly on ground
Nested- termite mounds (vulnerable to foxes)
Problems- overgrazing, drought and fire
Trapped
Golden-shouldered parrot
Psephotus chrysopterygius
few cattle stations in central Cape York Peninsula
Eat- seeds of grasses and herbs
Nest- termite mounds
Changes to fire regimes have changed vegetation patterns-> reduced density of termite mounds
Conservation of the golden-shouldered parrot
About 2000 breeding individuals left in two populations
• Threats: reduced frequency of hot fires, overgrazing,
poaching, predation, increase in woody shrubs due to
changed fire regimes
• Poachers could easily get fledglings from their nests in
termite mounds
• Goal is to develop pastoral management strategies that
work for both this parrot and cattle
Dependence of most parrots on tree hollows
• Nesting
• Saftey
• Rare and must be defended
• Hollows usually only develop in old (often dead) trees
• Such trees removed by logging or removed in cities for safety reasons
Study of ecology and conservation of hole-nesting parrots in the Iron Ranges of Queensland’s Cape York
• Robert Heinsohn at Australian National University
• these parrot species in trouble
* due to shortage of suitable trees for nesting
• low rates of successful
reproduction, which makes them very vulnerable to habitat changes
Palm Cockatoo
Locally common, tiny range in OZ
Need savannah with rainforest nearby
use tree hollows in eucalypt woodland near rainforest
Also in NG
Illegaly hunted for pet
changes in fire regime bad
Slow life history of palm cockatoo
• Strong competition for nest hollow
• Incubation and chick-rearing take 90-100 days
• Always lay only a single egg
• Only 9 of 41 breeding attempts studied were successful
• 2/3 of nesting failure occurred at nestling
stage, 1/3 during incubation
• Most failure due to predation
• Breed about once every two years
• Among the lowest breeding success rate known for any parrot
Conservation implications of the palm cockatoo’s slow life history (low reproductive rate)
• Would recover only very slowly from any environmental
disturbances
• Changes to fire regimes would affect availability of nesting trees in the right habitat
• Need further study of effects of fire in this habitat to better understand the threats to the palm cockatoo
Eclectus Parrot
Eclectus roratus
Found in: Cape York Penn, Papua NG, Solomon islands
Nest in tree hollows in tall trees emerging form the tainforest
Frugivorous
Large (500-600g)
UNIQUE (eclectus parrot)
Reverse dichromatism- females are brighter
Both sexes under strong sexual selection
Females spend up to 9mo guarding their nest hole, fed by males
Can make unusual sex ratios of young (20 females in a row)
Multiple males feed a female (up to 5)
All males feeding her are unrelated to her.
LOW REPRO SUCESS
18% of eggs and 27% of clutches--> fledging
Egg damage/loss, flooding of nest hollow, death of chicks
Good hollows- LIMITING resource... why females guard them
Survey
500 nest trees
538-596 breeding females, 1059-1173 males in ppln
only ~150-170 females sucesful at rearing
Conservation of nest hollows critical in Iron Ranges
• Sulfur-crested cockatoos compete with both palm cockatoos and eclectus parrots for nest hollows
• 3.8% of rainforest nest hollows lost each year
• 5.4% of eucalypt woodland nest hollows lost each year
• Losses due to fire, trees falling over, floor of nest
hollow caving in
• Management of these parrots requires maintenance of
nest hollows