Karen Bishop, from Riverland West Landcare and Regent Parrot Recovery Team (SA), recently talked to Nature Foundation staff about the beautiful Regent Parrot (Polytelis anthopeplus
Unfortunately, this slim green, yellow and red parrot is listed as vulnerable in South Australia and nationally, and in recent years numbers locally have halved.
Although we were at our new nature reserve, Murbpook Lagoon near the River Murray,
where there were recent sightings, we were not lucky enough to spot any. However, Karen’s authentic models gave us a good idea of what they look like. It’s not surprising that they’re often mistaken for the more common Yellow Rosella but the Regent’s distinctive flight pattern, like a fighter jet darting through the trees, rather than the rosella’s undulating one, sets it apart.
Work to save them is taking place on several fronts. Nature Foundation, a member of the South Australian Regent Parrot Recovery Team, through its delivery of Commonwealth water for the environment is helping to save important Regent Parrot habitat at its Water For Nature
sites. It is understood the parrots use tree hollows in red gums for nesting and the death of hundreds of mature trees over the last few decades from reduced river flows is thought to be contributing to the species’ decline.
Plus, Karen fills us in on an exciting new project that is collecting vital data that may help save this species. In this innovative project, high tech backpacks with satellite trackers have been fitted to some of these birds to record their roosting, feeding, and breeding behaviours and locations!
Designed by the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board’s Ecology program and the Regent Parrot Recovery Team, these backpacks fit snugly over the birds’ wings and contain a tracker that transmits the birds’ movements throughout the day. A battery recharged by a solar panel allows the tracker to collect data over long periods of time and collects vital information that may help arrest the decline of this iconic species.
Karen with Regent Parrot models (A Clark)