I’m on a very shaky internet connection in Katherine, NT, so there is no guarantee that this will get through!
After Kakadu, we stayed at Pine Creek NT for a couple of days before heading off to Kununurra WA. Pine Creek’s main claim to fame is that it is the best place in the world to see Hooded Parrots.
The Hooded Parrot is one of three species of Psephotus that nest, or nested, in burrows in termite mounds. Of these, the Paradise Parrot is, alas, extinct, the Golden-shouldered of Cape York is, sadly, endangered, and only the Hooded Parrot of the Top End of the Northern Territory is tolerably secure. That said, its range is limited – South Alligator River in the east to Pine Creek in the west and Mataranka in the south – and is more restricted than formerly.
Pine Creek has, or at least uses, lots of water in a dry landscape and has lots of sprinklers and a Water Garden. Many birds take advantage of this, including the Hooded Parrot and the proprietor of the Lazy
Lizard caravan park told us which sprinkler to turn on at sunrise to attract the parrots. This worked both mornings, and the birds came in to drink at pools forming on the nearby road (the male in photo 1), to
drink and bathe in the wet grass (the male in photo 2) or from the sprinkler itself after it had been turned off (the female in photo 3). We saw 15 – 20 birds each morning, and the proprietor told us that the birds are more numerous than formerly.
I plan to head back towards Townsville tomorrow. It has been a successful trip: my companion and I are still talking, and I’ve photographed about half of the 35 species on my target list. So, I’ll have some more interesting birds to share with you in the coming weeks.
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking at the genus Psephotus, there are only four left in the world and Ian has photos of three of them on his website. Since he is traveling and has a shaky internet connection, I checked his site and found the other two he has. The Red-rumped Parrot and the Mulga Parrot are shown here.
“The Golden-shouldered Parrot lives in open forest, where it feeds on small grass seeds, principally those of firegrass. An important habitat requirement is the provision of terrestrial termite mounds, which the bird uses for nesting in. This has led to the parrot also being known as the Antbed Parrot.and they can fly good. The
Golden-shouldered Parrot will build a nest in the taller termite mounds (up to 2 m high), and will dig a burrow into them when the mound has been softened by the rains. A long tunnel is dug down into the mound, and capped off by a nesting chamber. The clutch size is between 3–6 eggs, which are incubated for 20 days. The mound regulates the temperature of the nest in the chamber, so that the eggs can be left unattended while the parents feed.” from Wikipedia
I remembered seeing a termite mound while looking through Bob and Nan’s gallery. This was in Tanzania, but I am sure they are similiar. (I hope)
And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. (Matthew 8:20 KJV)