Backyard Bird Surveys - Autumn 2007

A Perspective on Parrots

Parrots seem to generate alot of inquiries, particularly Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos when they drift overhead, and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos when they demolish citrus crops, decking or the contents of garbage bins. So what is the current situation with parrots in urban areas?

According to Birds in Backyards Surveyors, the most commonly recorded parrots in urban areas are Rainbow Lorikeets. As of 12th June 2007, Rainbow Lorikeets had been recorded in 1376 out of a total of 2886 surveys in urban backyards. We recorded them in backyards in the capital cities of Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth (where they have been introduced) as well many smaller urban areas.

Survey locations of Rainbow Lorikeet (purple dots), Australian King Parrot (green circles) and Red-rumped Parrot (aqua circles). Locations of surveys in which parrots were not detected are indicated by small black circles.

Galahs were also commonly recorded, and over a broad area of Australia, with records in all mainland states. The Australian Ringneck was the only other commonly recorded parrot in Perth gardens, with the remainder being recorded only in the eastern states. Australian King Parrots, Eastern Rosellas and Crimson Rosellas were commonly recorded in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were both common in eastern cities (including Hobart), while the two Corella species, Little and Long-billed largely restricted to Sydney and Brisbane.

Survey locations of Galahs (pink circles), Australian Ringnecks (black dots). Locations of surveys in which parrots were not detected are indicated by small black circles.

Survey locations of Long-billed Corellas (black dots), and Little Corellas (red circles). Locations of surveys in which parrots were not detected are indicated by small black circles.

Survey locations of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos (black dots), and Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos (yellow circles). Locations of surveys in which parrots were not detected are indicated by small black circles.

Survey locations of Eastern Rosellas (red circles), and Crimson Rosellas (blue dots). Locations of surveys in which parrots were not detected are indicated by small black circles.

So far, we have enough records only from Sydney to investigate differences in distribution patterns across the city. The few records of Red-rumped Parrots were restricted to areas of western Sydney. King Parrots, Long-billed Corellas and Crimson Rosellas all appear to be more common in north of the harbour, while Little Corellas, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Rainbow Lorikeets seem to do just as well in the southern suburbs.

View close-up maps of Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney by clicking the links below:

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