Record Breaking Year for the Orange-bellied Parrot

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: February 8, 2021 10:40 pm

orange-bellied parrot

An orange-bellied parrot

Photo Credit: Cale Russell for the Animal Facts

Adelaide Zoo have shared good news from one of their field conservation programs with the orange-bellied parrots having a record-breaking year in terms of breeding. A record-breaking number of nestlings have been observed in the wild at their nesting site in Tasmania.

Orange-bellied parrots are critically endangered. They undertake a grueling migration each year from their feeding grounds in Southern Australia across Bass strait to the breeding grounds in Tasmania. This is an incredible feat for a bird measuring between 20 and 22cm (7.9-8.7in).

Last year as few as 30 birds were recorded returning to the mainland after breeding.

A recent check of nests by biologists from the Orange-bellied Parrot Tasmanian Program and The Australian National University Difficult Birds Research Group found a total of 136 eggs in 31 wild nests.

Adelaide Zoo Senior Keeper of Birds and Free Flight and Chair of the Orange-bellied Parrot Captive Management Group Chad Crittle says this is an encouraging step forward for a bird whose numbers were dangerously low.


“We were thrilled to hear the news that the team found a whopping 88 live nestlings (baby birds) across 27 nest sites in one of the key breeding ground in Tasmania,” says Chad.


“Of course, sadly not all of those nestlings will survive but this is the highest number we’ve seen since monitoring began in 1994.”


“There are still eight eggs left to hatch, so overall that number could be even higher.”

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This was not the end of the exciting news for these critically endangered birds this season. Another seven nestling were found in two sites located 5km away from the first. This is the first range expansion for the species and is an exciting turning point for their future.

These exciting events come as a result of work by a number of conservation partners across Australia including Adelaide Zoo, the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, Healesville Sanctuary, Werribee Open Range Zoo, Priam Australia and the University of Sydney.

Currently 500 birds form a captive insurance population to protect against the potential extinction of the species.

Adelaide Zoo have contributed to the breeding program producing over 100 birds since their breeding program began. Three of these birds were recently returned to the wild.

orange bellied parrot zoos sa
orange bellied parrot zoos sa

Orange-bellied parrots at Adelaide Zoo

Photo Credit: Adrian Mann

Learn more about Orange-bellied parrots here – Orange-bellied parrot Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about Zoos SA on their website – Zoos SA

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