Funding to secure future of rare Norfolk Island birds

The Australian Government has delivered more than $400,000 to help secure the future of two of Australia’s most threatened bird species.

The announcement comes on the eve of National Bird Week (21-27 October) with new funding for research on the Norfolk Island green parrot and the Norfolk Island morepork owl.

Both birds are priority species under the Threatened Species Strategy and exist nowhere else in the world except on  Norfolk Island.

The Norfolk Island green parrot is the island’s most iconic bird and was on the brink of extinction in 2013. There were only around 50 remaining birds before conservation work led by Parks Australia protected their nests from feral cats and rats. Since then green parrot numbers have begun to increase, to between 250 and 450 birds. But work still needs to be done to help secure their future.

The future of the morepork owl, also known as the boobook owl, is also far from certain. The most recent surveys of the morepork owl estimates only 45-50 owls exist.

The Threatened Species Commissioner helped mobilise funds through the National Environmental Science Program.

This timely investment by the Australian Government will be directed to urgent research needed to help safeguard these species.

The funding, which has been matched by three leading Australian universities, will help researchers better understand the green parrot and morepork owl populations, range movements, breeding success, habitat preferences and genetic structure.

This 18-month project is a collaboration between Parks Australia, the Australian National University, Monash University and the University of Melbourne and will guide the next steps to ensure the future of both bird species are in safe hands.

Ensuring that Australia protects its threatened species and maintains its rich biodiversity is an ongoing commitment of the Australian Government and we look forward to the outcomes of this funding supporting those goals.