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In Search of the Elusive Ground Parrot

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Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers on K’gari (Fraser Island) recently deployed five Bio-acoustic remote listening posts purchased by FIDO (Fraser Island Defenders organisation) in swamp/heath areas across the island. These devices allow for scheduled activation times, making surveys for species with distinct calls, such as frogs and birds, easier.

Sound recorder listening for the elusive Ground Parrot (photo Linda Behrendorff)

One of the current objectives for these devices is to assess the presence/absence of the elusive Ground Parrot (Pezoporus wallicus), endemic to Australia, with the eastern subspecies found in coastal southeastern and eastern Australia (Higgins 1999). In this localised area of Queensland, the vulnerably listed parrot is restricted to the southeast coastal regions of Cooloola, Fraser Island and some adjoining mainland habitat near Maryborough. It occurs mostly in coastal heathland or sedgeland with thick dense cover making it a very difficult species to observe in the field. These highly sensitive recorders produce excellent sound quality enabling detection of species without spending days in the field or risking disturbance to the sensitive areas and fauna. Not to mention reducing the observers time in mozzie and sand-fly infested areas.

The first deployment of around two months will include areas within the up and coming K’gari Bioblitz survey area between Eurong and Dilli Village to assist with overall species presence (birds, frogs and invertebrates). They are scheduled to record for 5 minutes every hour as well as an extended period (15-20 minutes) at dawn and dusk to ‘capture’ calling frog, bird and invertebrate species. All recordings collected will be filed for analyses and future research and will hopefully fill some of the knowledge gaps regarding species present at these sites.

A huge thank you to Harry Hines (Senior Conservation Officer) for assistance with purchase, set-up, deployment and mozzie repellent.

Article and images contributed by Linda Behrendorff
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Great Sandy National Park

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