Conservation Actions for Tasmania’s Orange-bellied Parrots

Identifying and mitigating threats to the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot

The wild population of the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot has been reduced to a single population that only breeds in one site in southwest Tasmania. Every year, small flocks migrate between the west coast of Tasmania, coastal Victoria and south-eastern South Australia

This project is investigating predator threats and management needs for Orange-bellied Parrots, improving food plant availability through burning trials, mapping foraging habitat and implementing habitat improvement along their Tasmanian migration route, and using research models to improve management.

Our Approach

This project is addressing key threats to Orange-bellied Parrots by;

  • Identifying predation and competition threats to OBPs across their core breeding area in the Melaleuca Valley (2,600ha).
  • Developing population viability models to establish the relationship between OBP mortality and their demographic trends, in the context of existing management actions.
  • Carrying out two flora surveys to determine how a change in fire regimes will impact Orange-bellied Parrot food availability.
  • Working with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre to control invasive weeds in feeding habitat along the migration route of Orange-bellied Parrots.
PROJECT PILLARS

Background

Orange-bellied Parrots are at risk of extinction from a range of factors, including their small population size, limited breeding range, migratory behaviours and habitat degradation.

We are working with the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania (NRE), the Australian National University (ANU) and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) to secure the future of critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrots. Through a project that is largely focused on improvements to their habitat, we are supporting research into predator threats and management needs for Orange-bellied Parrots, improving food plant availability through burning trials, mapping foraging habitat and implementing habitat improvement along their Tasmanian migration route, and using research models to improve management.

Surveys

We will be supporting NRE Tasmania to carry out on-ground camera and spotlighting surveys to get updated data about the main predators and competitor species that may be impacting Orange-bellied Parrots across their breeding ground. The results of these surveys will be used to develop thresholds for initiating management strategies.

This project will also assess how prescribed burns during the spring season impacts on food availability for Orange-bellied Parrots and will monitor changes through annual flora surveys over two years. The intent is to establish the most suitable fire regime to generate food resources for OBPs.

Habitat Improvement

NRM South will be working with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) to support the control of invasive weeds at preminghana. This property is owned and managed by TAC and is situated along the migration route of OBPs in Tasmania’s north-west region.

Habitat mapping

We are supporting NRE Tasmania to carry out habitat mapping across the Tasmanian stretch of Orange-bellied Parrots’ migration route. This desktop analysis will be followed up with ground-truthing at selected sites and will help boost our knowledge about the migration paths they follow and the condition of the habitat along their way.

Investigating impact of population threats and changes

We are supporting researchers from the Australian National University to complete a Population Viability Analysis in order to identify thresholds when specific management actions should be implemented to prevent a decline in the population. Findings will be summarised in a  report.

Project Goals

Identifying predation and competition threats across OBP core breeding area

Mapping habitat along their Tasmanian migration route

Report modelling population demographics and trends

Flora surveys to assess food availability for OBPs

Weed control in key OBP habitat

Past Projects

Image credit: JJ Harrison

Supporting Orange-bellied Parrot Recovery

Our Orange-bellied Parrot recovery project comprised of two complementary projects that aimed to improve conservation outcomes for Orange-bellied Parrots in Tasmania. Running from 2021 - 2023, we worked with project partners to find out more about the specific biology and habitat requirements of Orange-bellied Parrots, develop and implement management strategies to optimise and extend their habitat area, improve infrastructure that supports the existing OBP captive breeding program at Melaleuca and supply additional nesting opportunities within their preferred habitat.

Read more here.

This project is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

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Thanks to our project partners

This project is funded by the Australian Government’s Natural Heritage Trust and delivered by NRM South, a member of the Regional Delivery Partners panel