Coxen's Fig-Parrot

To: <>
Subject: Coxen's Fig-Parrot
From: "Andrew Thelander" <>
Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2007 15:50:29 +1000
Hi Russ

Thanks for your post.  You wrote:

"I find myself in complete accord with Andrew Thelander's views about the
existence of Coxen's Fig-Parrot (the "first" figparrot subspecies according
to the "Parrots & Pigeons of Australia " volume of The National Photographic
Index of Australian Wildlife). Like Andrew I have not seen the bird, but
live in an area where the bird has been reported seen (the southern end of
the Blackall Range)."

I just want to clarify that I *do* claim to have encountered Coxen's
fig-parrots on a number of occasions.
December 1994 - myself and a birding colleague saw a party of 4 birds at
Goomburra State Forest.  Neither of us had any fig-parrot experience at all
at that stage.  The birds were very loud and noisy in flight.  They stopped
briefly right at the top of a huge Box brush and were seen running
squirrel-like along branches.  My first thought upon getting my binnies on
one in the tree was - "what has happened to that lorikeet's tail?"
February 2004 - myself and another birding colleague (fresh from a trip to
FNQ where we found lots of fig-parrots) heard very loud and close
advertising calls near Pinbarren, Noosa hinterland.  I was hopeful that the
birds had flown in to feed and raced home to get my video camera.  However,
the birds - 2 of them - flew and were observed by my colleague.
August 2006 - sound recordist, David Stewart, visited Cooran for a Birds Qld
campout and believes he most likely heard a fig-parrot call (he published a
note about this in the BQ newsletter).
November 2006 - I heard some fast advertising calls in the Noosa hinterland.
Had my video with me but not fast enough to record.  The little blighter(s)
didn't call again.
Already in 2007 we have had a local person report a close up encounter with
a fig-parrot feeding on Alphitonia excelsa in his back yard which backs onto
a scrubby creekline.  This chap is not a birder but is an insect enthusiast
and feeds King parrots and rainforest pigeons in his back yard (mainly
white-headeds and emerald doves).  He told me it is the second time he has
seen such a parrot there in the past 3 years.  A disappointing aspect of
this report (for me) is that Alphitonia is one of the most common trees in
the district - so unlikely the bird would come back to feed on just one
tree.  Besides, all the Ficus coronatas are in fruit here and there is no
shortage of food at all.
I should point out that the area where this bird was reportedly seen is all
private property - as is nearly the entire district.  The birds have lots
and lots of places where they can hide away from any human disturbance.
Personally, I suspect that most encounters with fig-parrots in this area go
unnoticed and/or unreported.
I now never go out birding locally without my video and I hope to be lucky
one day.  The birds are very rare and it *does* take a lot of luck and
persistence - especially for those of us with work to attend to first and



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