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Tasmanian orange-bellied parrot breeding program sees record success

Pulse Tasmania
Orange-bellied parrot. Image / NRE

A record number of critically endangered orange-bellied parrot fledglings have been recorded this breeding season, offering a glimmer of hope for the future of the species.

According to Minister for Parks and Environment Nick Duigan, 74 fledglings were successfully produced from 33 nest-boxes.

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“This is the highest number and proportion of nests recorded in the wild since monitoring began in 1993,” he said.

“18 captive-bred adult parrots were released for breeding in spring and 40 captive-bred juveniles were released in late summer ahead of migration.

It is estimated that 188 orange-bellied parrots migrated from Melaleuca at the end of the breeding season, with between 44 and 128 expected to return to Melaleuca in spring 2024.

A tree full of orange-bellied parrots. Image / NRE

The “successful numbers” follow a record-breaking number of birds returning to Melaleuca on the state’s West Coast last year.

Volunteers monitor and provide supplementary food to the birds from September to April each year, however many birds are lost during migration and winter periods.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania earlier this year began a two-year project to track the birds during their non-breeding period.

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46 parrots were fitted with tiny transmitters that will help identify their location and inform assessments of risks, threats and necessary management actions across their migratory range.

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