CBD Thick Knees; Parrots in the News

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: CBD Thick Knees; Parrots in the News
From: Laurie&Leanne Knight <>
Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 22:05:22 +1000
On another typically beautiful autumn day in Brisbane, I had the pleasure of
spotting a pair of bush thickknees in the botanical gardens.  This is the first
time I have seen them in the CBD, and it will be interesting to see if they will
breed there. {I'm not sure whether they are long term residents or have moved in
from Uni Qld to take advantage of the inner city's residential opportunities}

Now to the news - the first relates to the discovery of a species of bald
parrots in South America [no Jag, I don't think you should knit some caps for
them - there may be a good reason for their baldness]

The second relates to the capture of feral parakeets in WA.  Those of you who
tick ferals might be wondering how long it would take them to get onto the
Australian Bird List. ...,4273,4417013,00.html
This parrot's alive - and bald 

Paul Brown, environment correspondent

Monday May 20, 2002 

A new species of parrot has been discovered - and to the astonishment of
ornithologists it is bald. 

The discovery of the Bald parrot, or Pagagio careco, as it is known, since its
home is in the Portuguese speaking Mato Grosso region of Brazil, has sent a
flurry of excitement around the bird world. 

So far only one has been seen, but it has been photographed for a Brazilian bird
magazine, and filmed by the local television network. It is so distinctive
because of the lack of feathers on its head that experts have no doubt it is a
previously unknown parrot. 

Tony Juniper, joint author of Parrots, A Guide to the Parrots of the World,
which chronicled the 350 known species four years ago, said it was a spectacular
discovery. "After 200 years of systematically searching out and describing
parrot species it is really a surprise to find a new one. It shows that if we
can miss a big visible new species like a parrot, how many other smaller animals
and plants must be out there waiting to be found, and still worse how many are
going extinct without us ever knowing." 

Mr Juniper, who recently completed a book on the Spix's macaw, which has just
become extinct in the wild and is down to 60 specimens in captivity, said there
was one other bald parrot in the world, the Vulturine parrot. In the same way
that a vulture which ate carrion had developed bald ness to keep its head from
getting too messy, the Vulturine parrot (Pionopsitta vulturina), which ate
rotting fruit, had also lost its head feathers. 

"It is too early to say, but the bald parrot may have evolved that way for the
same reasons," he said. 

The hunt is now on for more members of the same species. Mr Juniper, who is
director designate of Friends of the Earth, said it was important to give it a
chance to survive. 

"The Mato Grosso, on the edge of the Amazon, is a forest which is rapidly being
cut down for turning into ranches and for timber, so even as it is discovered we
may be in danger of making the bald parrot extinct. We urgently need to find out
more about this new species." 

Thursday, May 23, 2002. Posted: 10:18:29 (AEDT) 
WA feral parrots pose agriculture and environment threat

Aviary parrots that are a declared pest have been discovered in the wild and
captured at Lower King, east of Albany, on Western Australia's south coast.

Colin Parry, from the Department of Agriculture, and members of the public
caught six Indian ring-necked parakeets, which are required to be kept in
double-doored secure aviaries.

Mr Parry says the birds have shown they could survive and breed in the wild, and
would be a threat to stored grain and the general environment.

"Certainly reports from areas where they come from in Africa and southern Asia
indicate that they will form very large feral populations.

"They are major pests to ripening grain and stored grain and environmentally, of
course, they compete with our native parrots which are hole-nesting, the same as
these fellows."
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