Perth Zoo population of Western Ground Parrots begin to bond

The critically endangered Western Ground Parrot. Photo: Alan Danks.
The critically endangered Western Ground Parrot. Photo: Alan Danks.

Perth Zoo's 2019 breeding program for the critically endangered Western Ground Parrot has shown early signs of success.

The species is one of the rarest birds in the world. It was once found along the south coast from Cape Leeuwin to Cape Arid, and even in a few near-coastal areas south of Geraldton.

However, it is now confined to heathlands in Cape Arid National Park and the adjacent Nuytsland Nature Reserve. This existing habitat area was severely affected by massive bushfires at the start of 2019.

A small number of the parrots are in Perth Zoo, the only captive population.

A Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions spokesperson said the birds in the program had recently been paired for the 2019 breeding season.

The spokesperson said zoologists had seen positive behaviour that confirmed the parrot pairs were bonding, which is a key indicator prior to breeding.

"Perth Zoo continues to provide optimal conditions to encourage breeding activity, including providing preferred food choices within the purpose-built aviaries," they said.

"To ensure minimal disturbance, the parrot care team take a hands-off approach, but have increased their monitoring via CCTV to track key reproductive behaviours."