New research reveals that protecting water sources on hot days will help the Endangered Night Parrot.
One of Australia’s most precious native birds is the Endangered Night Parrot. This species was rediscovered in 2013 after being considered extinct for over a century, but is now threatened by invasive feral cats.
The bright green parrots are, as their name indicates, nocturnal, and they live in the dry shrub-lands of Western Queensland. In these arid conditions, they mostly get water from the food they eat, but during particularly hot days they need to find additional water sources.
A new study conducted by University of Melbourne and the Federal Government’s Threatened Species Hub discovered that when temperatures were particularly high – 40 degrees Celsius – during the day, Night Parrots would leave their nests in spinifex (a type of plant) to get water. This trip to water is very dangerous since feral cats are often present and hunt for prey in these areas. Dr. Steve Murphy, who has been a leader in Night Parrot research since their rediscovery, explained:
It’s yet another piece of the puzzle that we can use to help build a picture of night parrots and ensure their continued survival…Our findings show that water resources such as farm dams and natural soaks in night parrot habitat must be carefully managed.
Studies like this provide crucial information to conservation biologists, enabling them to better protect threatened species. In this case, on hot days it is important to make a concerted effort to keep the areas near water resources free from invasive feral cats.
Due to the elusive nature of this species, there is very little known about their biology, which makes every bit of information all the more important. It also gives hope for the future of the Night Parrot as conservation researchers work to boost their populations.
Wolf Creek Crater, Australia. Credit: Harclade
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