The Hooded Parrot featured as bird of the week at the end September following our encounter with some at Pine Creek in the Northern Territory. This week we have its rarer, and just as beautiful, close relative the Golden-shouldered Parrot of Cape York Peninsula, which we saw last week on our way back from Iron Range. We were shown them coming in to drink at a dam at sunrise by Sue Shephard of Artemis Station south of Musgrave.
The two species look very similar. Male Golden-shouldered Parrots have narrower black caps, not extending past the eye, a yellowish forehead and, despite their name, a smaller golden patch on the wing. These shoulder patches are very obvious in flight, as in the bird top right in the first photo, and presumably act, along with the turquoise rump, as signals to other members of the species. At about 26cm/10in in length, these are both quite small parrots. Like the extinct, closely related, Paradise Parrot of southeastern Queensland, all three species nest, or nested, in terrestrial termite mounds.
The Golden-shouldered Parrot used to be quite widespread on Cape York Peninsula. It is now found only in two areas: in the Morehead River catchment south of Musgrave (where we saw them) and in Staaten River National Park farther to the southwest. Population estimates range up to 1,000 pairs and the species, classified as endangered, is now the subject of a national recovery plan. The good news is that in the last decade the contraction of the range appears to have stopped and the population stabilized, owing to active conservation measures being taken by the holders of grazing properties in the Morehead River catchment, notably Tom and Sue Shephard of Artemis Station. Staaten River National Park is inaccessible by road, so monitoring and conservation there pose particular challenges.
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Another neat bird that Ian has captured in photos for us to enjoy. Thanks again, Ian.
He comes from the north as golden splendor; With God is awesome majesty. (Job 37:22 NKJV)
The adult male is mainly blue and has a characteristic yellow over the shoulder area. It has a black cap and pale yellow frontal band. It has a pinkish lower belly, thighs and undertail-coverts. It has a Grey-brown lower back. Adult female are mainly dull greenish-yellow, and have a broad cream bar on the underside of the wings. Juveniles are similar to the adult female. (Wikipedia)