Deakin University

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Back from the brink – again: the decline and recovery of the Norfolk Island green parrot

posted on 2018-03-01, 00:00 authored by L Ortiz-Catedral, R Nias, James FitzsimonsJames Fitzsimons, S Vine, M Christian
The problem: 1. Shortage of nest sites for Norfolk Island green parrots safe from cat and rat predation or competition with introduced birds. 2. Lack of intensive management of nest sites or monitoring to understand parrot trends. 3. Nest boxes and protection of natural nest sites had been effective before in recovering parrot numbers but the ongoing implementation of such measures was neglected once the parrot had recovered from near extinction in 1988. Actions taken to manage the problem: 1. Based on an Action Plan developed for the Norfolk Island National Park in early 2013, and the appointment of a Natural Resource Manager, predator control was enhanced including increased trapping of cats near parrot nests, revised rodent baiting practices and culling introduced avian nest-competitors. 2. A population survey in mid-2013 confirmed the very small size of the population. The survey was commissioned by non-government organisations (NGOs) following concerns about the population being raised by local residents in 2012. 3. Following the release of the 2013 survey results, the Australian Government implemented an action plan that included expert training for national park rangers to ensure reproductive output was maximised and plans for establishment of an insurance population on predator-free Phillip Island. Markers of success: 1. Increasing parrot numbers. 2. Renewed and ongoing commitment to maintenance of nest site maintenance and protection. 3. Creation of a partnership between Parks Australia, the local community and the NGO sector. 4. A forward-looking plan that identifies a durable solution. Reasons for success: 1. Resources available to rapidly commission population surveys. 2. Strong community interest in the parrot that meant that declines were identified despite a lack of formal monitoring. 3. Existing knowledge of the actions needed to manage the parrot, and the parrot’s high fecundity once adequate protection was provided. 4. Effective action by Norfolk Island National Park staff once the problem was identified, working in partnership with external organisations. 5. An inclusive approach and targeted capacity development that resulted in national park staff believing in the outcomes, having the skills to implement recovery actions and able to take pride in their achievements.


Chapter number








Publication classification

B Book chapter, B1 Book chapter

Copyright notice

2018, Stephen Garnett, John Woinarski, David Lindenmayer and Peter Latch




Garnett S, Latch P, Lindenmayer D, Woinarski J


CSIRO publishing

Place of publication

Clayton, Vic.

Title of book

Recovering Australian threatened species: a book of hope