Great Southern Landscapes

Superb Parrot habitat restoration

Greening Australia is working to protect the Superb Parrot in the NSW Riverina by addressing the loss of foraging habitat and improving the availability of food resources.

The Superb Parrot is a large, attractive parrot found across inland New South Wales and Victoria, with a distinctive yellow neck and forehead and an orange blaze under the chin. Although it usually nests in tree hollows of river red gums along inland rivers, it forages elsewhere, on the adjacent riverine plains and sandhills dominated by myall, white cypress pine and box trees. Each day they fly between their breeding and feeding habitats, sometimes congregating into spectacular flocks compromising of 30 birds or more.

The Challenge

In the Riverina region, the largest population of superb parrots breed along the Murrumbidgee River from Wagga Wagga, west to Carrathool. The majority of known nest sites are located in the river red gums of the Murrumbidgee Valley National Park. Breeding birds forage in woodlands up to 10km from the nesting sites, and after breeding, the parents and fledglings move further afield. This post-fledging period is thought to be a critical time for the survival of newly independent young birds who disperse over a wide area but lack experience in finding and making use of foraging locations.

The most significant threat to the Superb Parrot in the Riverina is widespread clearing and degradation of foraging habitats, particularly the loss of wattles, native hop bushes and perennial grasses. The superb parrot is primarily a seed eater and relies heavily on these plants at different times of the year.

The Solution

Greening Australia is working to protect the Superb Parrot by addressing the loss of foraging habitat and improving the availability of food resources. Sites are being restored which are strategically located within their breeding and immediate post-breeding season range.

These threats will be addressed at priority sites covering approximately 700 ha of land. In more detail, we will be:

  • Protecting known and potential habitat, particularly box and myall woodland with native shrubs, such as wattles, hop bushes, saltbushes and native grasses, which will allow ongoing regeneration of local native trees, shrubs and groundcover plants.
  • Restore habitat through direct seeding and planting in strategic locations close to known habitat and movement corridors using appropriate local tree, shrub and ground cover species.
  • Encourage community participation in the Superb Parrot community monitoring program across the species’ range – the project will engage the community to improve our understanding of the size of the population along the Murrumbidgee River west of Wagga, through an annual monitoring program.

For this project, Greening Australia is working in partnership with Officeworks, the NSW Government’s Saving our Species program, and the NSW Environmental Trust.

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