An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

Australia's mysterious Night Parrot rediscovered

The rare Night Parrot (Image: John Gould, from Australian Geographic)


February 2014

By Linden Ashcroft

Australia's Night Parrot, one of the world's rarest birds, has been rediscovered in western Queensland. The last sighting of a live Night Parrot was in 1912, until late last year when naturalist John Young found a pair that he believes belong to the species. But the mystery continues as Young refuses to disclose where he spotted these rare creatures.

According to a recent article from CSIRO in the The Conversation, there are good reasons for keeping the Night Parrot's whereabouts a secret. An influx of birdwatchers could damage the parrot's fragile habitat, and illegal bird poachers might also target the site. However, Young has begun to share his findings with researchers, enabling studies to begin on the preferred habitat of the Night Parrot and how they might be protected.

John Young is a dedicated naturalist and bird watcher. He spent about 17,000 hours over four years trying to rediscover the elusive nocturnal bird. Earthwatch Australia has been involved in the discovery of over 650 brand new species of plants and animals in about the same time through its BushBlitz program. If you are interested in the discovery of new species and are a school teacher, applications are now open for the May 2014 expedition. More information can be found on the website. Who knows? You might even rediscover another mysterious species!