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Ground Parrot, Pezoporus wallicus

Ground parrotGround Parrot
Photo copyright Dave Watts

Description

The beautifully patterned Ground Parrot is a medium-size bird (290-320mm), bright green with black and yellow markings and a pale yellow wing bar. It has a small orange-red band on the lower forehead. 

Habitat

The Ground Parrot is a secretive bird found in the west of Tasmania, where it prefers buttongrass and open heathlands. The species is not usually seen unless it is flushed out from cover.

Where's Wallicus? The beautiful patterning of the Ground Parrot offers excellent camouflage among its heathland habitat. The bird is in the centre of the photo - click to see enlarged version.
(Photo by Peter Grant)
Although it also occurs on mainland Australia, it is now only found there in fragmented populations where pockets of habitat remain undisturbed.

The Ground Parrot is one of only three ground-dwelling parrots in the world, the others being the extremely rare Night Parrot and New Zealand's highly endangered Kakapo. When disturbed, it flies swiftly just above the ground before dropping back into the vegetation again.

Diet

Ground Parrots usually feed on the ground, eating seeds of sedges, grasses, herbaceous plants and shrubs.

Breeding

The Ground Parrot constructs a shallow nest of fine sticks and grass which is well-hidden under low shrubs. The female incubates the eggs and broods the young. During this time of incubation and brooding, the female is fed by the male, who also feeds the young when they hatch.

Call

Distribution Map courtesy Natural Values Atlas, data from theLIST
© 2010 State of Tasmania

The presence of the bird is often only revealed by its characteristic dusk and dawn call, a clear, whistling sequence of notes that rise in pitch before fading. It is silent in flight.

Distribution

Found in suitable habitat throughout western Tasmania and Hunter Island off the northwest coast.