In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.
|EPBC Act Listing Status||Listed as Vulnerable as Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides|
|Recovery Plan Decision||
Recovery Plan required, included on the Commenced List (1/11/2009).
|Adopted/Made Recovery Plans||
National Recovery Plan for the Regent Parrot (eastern subspecies) Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides (Victoria Department of Sustainability and Environment (Vic. DSE), 2011h) [Recovery Plan] as Polytelis anthopeplus anthopeplus.
|Other EPBC Act Plans||
Threat Abatement Plan for Beak and Feather Disease Affecting Endangered Psittacine Species (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2005q) [Threat Abatement Plan].
|Policy Statements and Guidelines||
Survey Guidelines for Australia's Threatened Birds. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.2 (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2010l) [Admin Guideline].
Federal Register of
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument] as Polytelis anthopeplus anthopeplus.
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (11/04/2007) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007f) [Legislative Instrument] as Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides.
Documents and Websites
|State Listing Status||
|Non-statutory Listing Status||
|Scientific name||Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides |
|Other names||Polytelis anthopeplus anthopeplus |
This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.
Scientific name: Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides
Common name: Regent Parrot (eastern)
Other names: Black-tailed Parrot, Black-throated Parrot, Marlock Parrot, Mountain Parrot, Plaide-wing Parrot, Regal Parrot, Royal Parrot, Smoker Parrot, Yellow King-Parrot, Black-tailed Parakeet, Blossom-feathered Parakeet, Marlock Parakeet, Mallee Smoker, Mockingale, Rock Pebbler, Pepplar, Peplar, Smoker (Higgins 1999).
The Regent Parrot is a conventionally accepted species (Christidis & Boles 1994; Forshaw & Cooper 2002; Higgins 1999). There are two subspecies of the Regent Parrot: Polytelis anthopeplus anthopeplus in southwestern Western Australia, and P. a. monarchoides in southeastern Australia (southwestern NSW, northwestern Victoria and the Murray-Mallee region of South Australia) (Forshaw & Cooper 2002; Higgins 1999). The latter is the subject of this profile.
The eastern subspecies of the Regent Parrot is a slim, medium-sized (length: 37 to 42 cm; weight: 160 to 190 g) yellow or green parrot with contrasting blue-black wings and tail. The males and females appear different. The male has a bright yellow head and neck, which grades through yellow-olive on the hindneck to dark olive-green on the mantle and scapulars; the scapulars are also mottled blackish; the back and rump are bright yellow; and the uppertail is blue-black. The upperwings are mostly blue-black, with a prominent yellow shoulder-patch and red feathers on the inner secondary coverts and tertials; in flight, the red secondary coverts appear as a red band. The underbody is bright yellow except for the undertail, which is black. The underwings are bright yellow, contrasting with blackish flight feathers. The female has a similar pattern of plumage to the male, but appears duller: the head, neck and underparts are dull olive-green instead of bright yellow; the tail and flight feathers are dull bluish-green instead of blue-black; the shoulder-patch is duller greenish yellow; and the red markings on the wings are duller; and the underwings appear lime green instead of bright yellow (Higgins 1999).
The Regent Parrot is usually seen in pairs or small flocks, but much larger flocks may congregate around abundant sources of food (Bedggood 1958; Morgan 1917; Sullivan 1967). During breeding season, when females are busy incubating the eggs, males may form single-sex flocks (Beardsell 1985; Keartland 1903; Tarr 1964).
The Regent Parrot (eastern) is confined to the semi-arid interior of southeastern mainland Australia.
In NSW, the Regent Parrot (eastern) is confined to the southern Lower Western Region, mainly along the Murray River, from Kyalite, north west to Mallee Cliffs State Forest, and is also recorded near Wentworth and the Rufous River. Away from the Murray River, the subspecies is recorded at isolated localities including west of Moonlight Lake, Arumpo Station, and near Pooncarie (Barrett et al. 2003; Beardsell 1985; Blakers et al. 1984; Cooper & McAllan 1995; Higgins 1999).
In Victoria, the subspecies is restricted to the Mallee district in three main areas: the first from Piangil, west to Manangatang and north to Robinvale; the second, in the region of Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, extending from near Kiamal north to near Carwarp and Nangiloc; and the third in the Wimmera River system, especially Wyperfeld National Park, south to Lake Hindmarsh. Elsewhere in Victoria, the Regent Parrot (eastern) is widespread but more scattered, from Nyah, south to Lake Hindmarsh and north to the Murray River west of Neds Corner (Beardsell 1985; Burbidge 1985; Emison et al. 1987; Higgins 1999).
In South Australia, the subspecies is restricted to the Murray-Mallee District, where it has been recorded north to Morgan Vale, Canopus and Canegrass Stations (Joseph 1978; Mack 1970) and mainly south to Marama and Pinnaroo. It sometimes occurs further south to Coombe, and it is said to have occurred near Bordertown (Condon 1969). The Regent Parrot (eastern) has also been recorded southwest to Woods Point (near Tailem Bend), Murray Bridge, Braendlers Scrub and Langhorne Creek (Barrett et al. 2003; Blakers et al. 1984; Condon 1969; Glover 1968, 1973; Higgins 1999; Reid 1976).
The extent of occurrence of the Regent Parrot (eastern) is estimated at 140 000 km² (Garnett & Crowley 2000). The range of the Regent Parrot (eastern) has contracted since the late 19th century (Beardsell 1985; Burbidge 1985; Garnett & Crowley 2000). Formerly, it was regularly recorded breeding along the Wimmera River, at least south to Dimboola (Blakers et al. 1984) but it no longer occurs that far south (Emison et al. 1987). The Regent Parrot (eastern) formerly nested around Lake Albacutya, but this is said to have ceased between 1985 and 1988 (Garnett & Crowley 2000). This subspecies also apparently bred on the Avoca River, upstream of Kerang during the 19th century (Campbell 1900). Along the middle reaches of the Murray River, they formerly bred at Lake Boga, Victoria, but had become scarce there by 1912, and were not recorded between 1973 and 1986 during the Victorian Bird Atlas monitoring period (Emison et al. 1987); and the species bred on Pental Island near Swan Hill in Victoria until around 1960 (Burbidge 1985). Near Werrimul, west of Mildura, the subspecies occurred in large numbers in the 1920s, but is now rare; and it was reported to breed at the edge of the Sunset Country until the mid-1960s (Burbidge 1985). In NSW, the Regent Parrot (eastern) was formerly numerous along the Wakool River and in the Piangil-Natya area, but populations have declined there since the 1960s (Burbidge 1985). Along the lower reaches of the Murray River in South Australia, it was considered scarce in 1913, although the subspecies was formerly numerous there (White 1914).
The area of occupancy of the Regent Parrot (eastern) is estimated at 500 km² (Garnett & Crowley 2000). Surveys along the Murray River in South Australia in 1991 and again in 2003 indicate that the number of breeding birds had declined by about 30% during that 12-year interim (Smith 2004).
The Regent Parrot (eastern) occurs mainly in three distinct and widely separated areas: southeast of Mildura, along the Murray River and its hinterland, from Piangil downstream to Nangiloc; along the lower reaches of the Wimmera River, centred on Wyperfeld National Park, with occasional records in adjoining parts of South Australia; and in South Australia, along the Murray River between Renmark and Cadell, with records occurring north to Canegrass and Canopus Stations (Barrett et al. 2003; Blakers et al. 1984; Condon 1969; Emison et al. 1987; Glover 1968,1973; Higgins 1999; Joseph 1978; Mack 1970; Reid 1976).
The Regent Parrot (eastern) is a popular cage bird, and is widely kept in captivity (Harman 1962; Lendon 1979; Low 1980; Shephard 1989). Although captive breeding has been suggested as a method of conserving and managing the species (Shephard 1989a), this has not been attempted, and there have been no re-introductions into the wild.
The population of the Regent Parrot (eastern) is now fragmented due to clearance of large areas of both the breeding and foraging habitats favoured by the species (Garnett & Crowley 2000).
The Regent Parrot (eastern) has been well surveyed. There have been regular surveys conducted during the breeding season which have determined the number of nests or potential nests present in several areas, as well as the habitat requirements of the species (Beardsell 1985; Burbidge 1985; Harper 1989; Smith 1992,2001,2004; Webster 1991,1993,1999,2002,2003,2004; Webster & Leslie 1998). There have also been studies on the foraging requirements of the species (Webster 2001a).
The total population size of the Regent Parrot (eastern) has been estimated twice: at around 1500 breeding birds (Garnett & Crowley 2000); and 2240 to 2495 breeding birds, comprising 630 to 680 breeding birds in NSW, 810 to 1015 in Victoria and about 800 in South Australia (Smith 2004; Webster 2002, 2003).
Victoria: In the Wimmera River Drainage Basin in western Victoria, the total population of the Regent Parrot is estimated at to be fewer than 350 breeding pairs, including 235 nests in nine colonies within Wyperfeld National Park (Garnett & Crowley 2000). Systematic surveys along the Murray River, between Taylor Flat, near Cadell in South Australia, and Boundary Bend in Victoria, found a total of 101 nests in 33 colonies in 1983 and 1984. Beardsell (1985) and Burbidge (1985) reported ten nests in four colonies in Victoria.
New South Wales: A survey of Kemendoc Nature Reserve and Mallee Cliffs State Forest located 68 nests in 25 colonies (Webster 1993). There were 45 nests in 17 colonies in NSW (Beardsell 1985; Burbidge 1985). Webster (2001, 2003a, 2005) and Webster and Leslie (1998) estimated the following sub-population sizes: Lower Wakool River (six pairs); Maine State Forest (60 pairs); Meilman East (30 pairs); Meilman (50 pairs); Euston State Forest (30 pairs); Tammit/Ki Downs (145 pairs); Mallee Cliffs State Forest (130 pairs); Kemendoc Nature Reserve (70 pairs); Moorna State Forest (two pairs); Wangumma State Forest (eight pairs).
South Australia: There were an estimated 46 nests in 12 colonies in South Australia (Beardsell 1985; Burbidge 1985). A survey conducted along the Murray River from the Victorian border downstream to Lock 2, west of Taylorville, South Australia, found 93 nests in 21 colonies (Harper 1989).
There is evidence of a rapid decline in two of the three populations of the Regent Parrot (eastern) since the late 19th century (Beardsell 1985; Burbidge 1985; Garnett & Crowley 2000).
The Regent Parrot (eastern) is not known to undergo extreme natural fluctuations in population numbers.
The key breeding populations of the Regent Parrot (eastern) in NSW are located in the southern Lower Western Region, mainly along the Murray River, from Kyalite, north west to Mallee Cliffs State Forest (opposite Nangiloc). There are three key breeding areas in Victoria: in the area from Piangil, west to Manangatang and north to Robinvale; Hattah-Kulkyne National Park; and in the Wimmera River system, centered on Wyperfeld National Park. In South Australia, the key breeding population occurs in the Murray-Mallee region, centred along the Murray River (Barrett et al. 2003; Beardsell 1985; Blakers et al. 1984; Burbidge 1985; Garnett & Crowley 2000; Harper 1989; Smith 1992,2001,2004; Webster 1993,1999,2002,2003,2004; Webster & Leslie 1998).
The generation length of the Regent Parrot (eastern) is estimated at five years, but this is considered to be of low reliability (Garnett & Crowley 2000).
Cross breeding with other species has not been recorded in the wild (Higgins 1999).
The Regent Parrot (eastern) has been recorded in a number of reserves in NSW, Victoria and South Australia, including Annuello Flora and Fauna Reserve, Bannerton Flora and Fauna Reserve, Bronzewing Flora and Fauna Reserve, Bumbang Bushland Reserve, Carwarp West Bushland Reserve, Chowilla State Game Reserve, Cooltong Conservation Park, Dangali Conservation Park, Dering Flora and Fauna Reserve, Gluepot Reserve, Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, Kemendoc Nature Reserve, Loch Luna State Game Reserve, Mallee Cliffs State Forest, Moorook State Game Reserve, Morgan Conservation Park, Moss Tank Flora and Fauna Reserve, Murray-Sunset National Park, Murray River National Park, Pooginook Conservation Park, Tarawi Nature Reserve, Taylorville Reserve, Wandown Flora and Fauna Reserve, Wathe Flora and Fauna Reserve, Wimmera River Heritage Area and Wyperfeld National Park (Joseph 1978; Webster 1993).
The Regent Parrot (eastern) primarily inhabits riparian or littoral River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) forests or woodlands and adjacent Black Box (E. largiflorens) woodlands. Nearby open mallee woodland or shrubland, usually with a ground cover of spinifex (Triodia) or other grasses, supporting various eucalypts, especially Christmas Mallee (E. socialis) and Yellow Mallee (E. costata) Mallee, as well as Belah (Allocasuarina cristata), Buloke (A. leuhmannii) or Slender Cypress Pine (Callitris preissii) also provide important habitat for this subspecies. They often occur in farmland, especially if the farmland supports remnant patches of woodland along roadsides or in paddocks. The subspecies seldom occurs in more extensively cleared areas (Beardsell 1985; Burbidge 1985; Emison et al. 1987; Webster 1991).
Nests are most often located in River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), and occasionally in Black Box (E. largiflorens), usually within 16 m of permanent water, or sometimes actually standing in water. Nest sites may sometimes occur near temporary water sources, such as ephemeral streams or seasonal billabongs, but these are usually within about 60 to 100 m of permanent water sites (Beardsell 1985; Burbidge 1985; Webster 1993; Webster & Leslie 1998). Nest trees are typically large (>150 cm diameter at breast height (DBH) and approximately 30 m tall) (Sluiter et al. 2007). Generally, about one-third of nests are in dead trees, but there is much variation between sites and between years (Burbidge 1985). In South Australia, this subspecies mainly nests in dead trees (Higgins 1999) but is also known to have nested in holes in cliffs along the Murray River (Campbell 1900; Ross & Howe 1930). Many breeding colonies, assumed to be traditional nesting sites, are in areas that have become drowned as a result lock and weir construction on the Murray River, although it is likely that birds have continued to nest at these sites in trees that are now dead (Higgins 1999; Smith 2001).
There is a positive association between the position of Regent Parrot (eastern) nest sites and the presence of large nearby stands of mallee vegetation. The proximity of major nest sites to large stands of mallee (within 20 km, though usually 5 to 10 km) reflects the dependence of the Regent Parrot (eastern) on mallee vegetation as a feeding habitat during the breeding season (Burbidge 1985). During the breeding season, this subspecies makes two to three return trips each day between breeding sites in River Red Gums and foraging sites in mallee woodland (Burbidge 1985; Forshaw & Cooper 2002).
The large stands of mallee that the Regent Parrot (eastern) forages in most often comprise Christmas Mallee (Eucalyptus socialis) and Yellow Mallee (E. incrassata). These large tracts of mallee vegetation often comprise a shrub and herb layer not found in smaller mallee remnants dominated by Dumosa Mallee (E. dumosa), Red Mallee (E. oleosa) and White Mallee (E. gracilis), and it may be the presence of this understorey rather than the mallee trees themselves that is of importance to Regent Parrot (eastern) (Burbidge 1985). Regent Parrots (eastern) also feed in woodlands supporting Belah, Buloke and Slender Cypress-pine. They occasionally feed within degraded shrubland vegetation dominated by Slender-leaf Hopbush (Dodonaea viscosa ssp angustissima) and/or Berrigan (Eremophila longifolia) (Sluiter et al. 2007), as well as in farmland and along roadsides (Burbidge 1985; Emison et al. 1987; Webster 1993; Webster & Leslie 1998). Numerous records have also been made of Regent Parrots (eastern) feeding in open ground near remnant vegetation (Morgan et al. 2001, cited in Sluiter et al. 2007).
A survey for the Regent parrot in the Ouyen area in 2008 suggests that this area forms important feeding habitat for the species in the late summer-early autumn period, being located between two main breeding foci- the Murray River and Outlet Creek (Sluiter et al. 2008).
As the Regent Parrot (eastern) relies on mallee woodland for its survival, it is associated with a number of other threatened species which also inhabit mallee habitats in southeastern Australia, such as the Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata), Bush Stone-curlew (Burhinus grallarius), Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (Cacatua leadbeateri), Black-eared Miner (Manorina melanotis), Hooded Robin (Melanodryas cucullata), Southern Scrub-robin (Drymodes brunneopygia), Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis), Western Whipbird (Psophodes nigrogularis), Chestnut Quail-thrush (Cinclosoma castanotus), Crested Bellbird (Oreoica gutturalis) and Red-lored Whistler (Pachycephala rufogularis ) (Garnett & Crowley 2000).
There is no information on the age of sexual maturity of the Regent Parrot (eastern) in the wild, but captive birds first breed successfully when two years old. Breeding attempts made before this age are usually unsuccessful (Low 1980; Shephard 1989). There is no published information on the life expectancy of the Regent Parrot (eastern), but anecdotal information suggests that some individuals may live for 15 to 20 years (Burbidge 1985). There are a number of raptors which regularly kill parrots that occur in the areas inhabited by the Regent Parrot (eastern) (Marchant & Higgins 1993), including the Grey Falcon (Falco hypoleucos) (Olsen & Olsen 1986). Additionally, an Australian Raven has been recorded preying on a Regent Parrot (eastern) nestling, removing it from the nest-hollow (Burbidge 1985). Various goannas, such as the Lace Monitor (Varanus varius), which are major predators of nestlings of various species of birds (Cogger 1983), are also likely to take Regent Parrot (eastern) eggs or nestlings from their nest hollows.
The Regent Parrot (eastern) breeds between August and December (Blakers et al. 1984; Forshaw & Cooper 2002; Smith 1992; Tarr 1964). It usually nests in a large hollow branch or spout, or occasionally in a hole in the trunk or in a stump of a tall living or dead eucalypt, especially a River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) or less often Black Box (E. largiflorens ) (Beardsell 1985; Burbidge 1985; Webster & Leslie 1998). Nests are typically in hollows which are located 15 to 25 m above the ground surface (Sluiter et al. 2007). The mean height of the entrance to a nest hollow is 19.3 m above the ground (Burbidge 1985).
Recent evidence from Regent Parrot (eastern) nest census work indicates that this species is extremely faithful to a particular nesting colony, with hollows often re-used from year to year. In drought years when nesting numbers are often low, Regent Parrots (eastern) are still seen during the breeding season in high numbers around traditional nest colonies (Sluiter et al. 2007). Nest colonies are not evenly distributed along the Murray River. The most concentrated groupings of nesting colonies occur from Robinvale downstream to the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park. Upstream of Robinvale, a very large nesting colony is known from each side of the Murray River at Yungera Island State Forest (Victoria) and Peacock Creek Reserve (NSW) (Webster 2002, 2003a, 2003b). Nesting is essentially absent betwen Robinvale and Yungera, and also between Yungera and Boundary Bend (Maine State Forest/Murrumbidgee River junction) (R. Webster personal observation, in Sluiter et al. 2007). The Yungera Island State Forest nesting colony is considered to be the largest single colony in Victoria outside of the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park/ Murray Kulkyne conservation reserve area (Webster 2003b, in Sluiter et al. 2007).
The eastern subspecies lays between four and six white eggs on a bed of decayed wood at the bottom of the hollow at intervals of one to two days (Forshaw & Cooper 2002; North 1901-1914; Tarr 1964). Incubation is by the female only, and lasts for 21 days (Forshaw & Cooper 2002; Tarr 1964). During this time, the male feeds the female by regurgitation inside the nest-hollow, at the entrance to the nest-hollow or in a tree near the nest, usually in the morning (before 10:00) and in the afternoon (16:00-18:00) (Tarr 1964).
The Regent Parrot (eastern) feeds mainly on the seeds of grasses and herbaceous plants, but also eats fruits, buds, flowers and occasionally insect larvae, psyllids and lerps. It usually feeds in pairs and small parties, but sometimes in large flocks. The species also often forages on cereal crops (Burbidge 1985; Higgins 1999; Webster 2001a).
During the breeding season, males foray in feeding flocks, with groups ranging in size from two to 30 birds (Emison et al. 1987). Flocks generally remain within 2 km of their nest site, usually travelling to mallee, Black Box or low open Belah and Buloke woodlands, where they feed on grass seeds on the ground. Such feeding flocks have well-organised regimes, with constant numbers of males leaving nesting areas to feed at regular intervals throughout the day (Beardsell 1985). Males return to supply food to incubating females and developing young (Sluiter et al. 2007).
In the non-breeding season, Regent Parrots (eastern) disperse and feed more widely across the Murray-Darling Bioregion (Sluiter et al. 2007). They are said to spend most of the day on the ground searching for food before returning to their roosting sites towards dusk. Regent Parrots (eastern) drink in the early morning before feeding, and in the evening before roosting (Forshaw & Cooper 2002).
Regent Parrots (eastern) usually forage on the ground, though occasionally they also feed in the canopy of trees (Beardsell 1985; Burbidge 1985; Sonter 1984a). This ground-feeding habit occasionally attracts large numbers of Parrots to areas where grain has been spilt while being transported, especially along roadsides, where they are liable to be struck by passing vehicles (Anonymous 1980; Webster 1991). In one instance, 150 birds were killed in this manner (Anonymous 1980).
Regent Parrots (eastern) appear reluctant to fly over open ground in search of feeding areas, preferring to move along vegetated corridors, such as roadsides (Morgan et al. 2001, 2006 as cited in Sluiter et al. 2007), or sometimes over horticultural crops to target feeding areas (Sluiter et al. 2007).
In addition, Regent Parrots (eastern) are sometimes attracted to poisoned grain that has been laid out on the ground, with the intention of controlling European wild Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus), resulting in the deaths of large numbers of Parrots (Burbidge 1985; Webster 1991). Regent Parrots (eastern) which feed in orchards and cereal and legume crops were formerly declared pests and shot by farmers (Boehm 1939; Condon 1947; McGilp 1934a; Schodde & Glover 1955).
The movement patterns of the Regent Parrot (eastern) are poorly understood. The subspecies is variously considered to be resident or partially sedentary (Bedggood 1958; Emison et al. 1987; Hutchins & Lovell 1985; Morris et al. 1981; Webster 1991), and no large-scale seasonal or regular movements have been reported (Burbidge 1985; Forshaw & Cooper 2002; Webster 1991).
Regular Local Movements
Along the Murray and Darling Rivers, the Regent Parrot (eastern) is said to travel up to 20 km, though usually less than 10 km, from riparian nesting sites to the mallee to feed (Burbidge 1985; Forshaw & Cooper 2002; Joseph 1978; Webster 1991). During the breeding season, feeding flocks of males often remain within 2 km of their nesting area, though may range further at times (Beardsell 1985). These regular local movements may be more extensive during periods of drought (Garnett & Crowley 2000).
The Regent Parrot (eastern) often undertakes post-breeding dispersion from riparian nesting habitat to mallee vegetation. The subspecies has been recorded considerable distances from breeding areas on either side of the Murray River during the non-breeding season, but it is not known what proportion of the population is involved in these movements (Burbidge 1985; Webster 1991). In South Australia, they apparently disperse into areas north of the breeding range between February and April (Joseph 1978), and the subspecies may also disperse south to around the Alawoona-Pinnaroo area in late summer and autumn (Burbidge 1985). For example, Regent Parrots (eastern) are regular non-breeding visitors to areas northeast of Murray Bridge (Blakers et al. 1984). At Murrayville in northwestern Victoria, they have been seen flying northwest in December and southeast in July, and there may be movement of the Wyperfeld-Albacutya population north into the Sunset Country for the non-breeding period, and similarly, south from the Murray River to the Sunset Country (Burbidge 1985). It has been suggested that juveniles disperse in autumn, and that flocks seen away from the Murray River represent movements of young birds in autumn and winter (Emison et al. 1987; Hutchins & Lovell 1985). Some Regent Parrots (eastern) are apparently resident in Wyperfeld and Hattah-Kulkyne National Parks, with breeding pairs remaining within the breeding habitat there throughout the non-breeding period (Webster 1991).
The preferred nesting and foraging habitats of Regent Parrots (eastern) are generally within 10 km of one another, although birds may use feeding sites up to 20 km away when necessary (Beardsell 1985; Burbidge 1985). Most recorded breeding colonies comprise of up to 18 nests (Beardsell 1985; Burbidge 1985), though up to 27 nests have been recorded (Smith 2001), and several nests may be located in the same tree (Smith 1992). Breeding colonies may occupy up to 90 ha (Webster 2002), though most occupy about 20 ha (Webster 2002), and some are as small as 0.5 ha (Beardsell 1985).
The Regent Parrot (eastern) is usually unmistakable, although with a fleeting view, it could be confused with the yellow form of the Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans flaveolus (Higgins 1999; Lendon 1979).
The Regent Parrot (eastern) is generally rather noisy and conspicuous, but can be quiet when feeding. It has a distinctive penetrating call given in flight, with birds usually heard well before being seen (Higgins 1999).
The Regent Parrot (eastern) can be surveyed using area searches or point-transect surveys in suitable habitat, preferably in the early to mid-morning or late afternoon. Known and probable breeding areas containing hollow-bearing River Red Gums along watercourses should be surveyed by targetted searches during the breeding season; these surveys can be conducted by using boat transects along rivers (Webster & Leslie 1998). The species can be detected by sight, or by its distinctive call. Another method used in northwestern Victoria is to station observers along potential movement corridors between River Red Gum and mallee habitats early in the morning and late in the afternoon, and count the Regent Parrots as they fly overhead (Tzaros 2007, pers. comm.).
Survey Effort Guide
** Targeting areas of hollow-bearing trees during breeding season.
The main threats to the Regent Parrot (eastern) are the clearing, fragmentation and modification of riparian River Red Gum and Black Box woodlands that are used for breeding and adjacent mallee areas that are used for foraging (Garnett & Crowley 2000; Webster & Leslie 1998).
The greatest threat has been the loss of breeding season foraging habitat associated with the clearing of mallee vegetation within 20 km of the Murray River, for both agriculture and horticulture, with much of the remaining habitat now fragmented and separated too widely from breeding areas, making it inaccessible for breeding Regent Parrots (eastern), which must fly two to three times daily from breeding sites to foraging areas. Regent Parrots (eastern) are generally absent from potentially suitable breeding areas where significant stands of mallee vegetation no longer occur nearby (Emison et al. 1987). In addition, Regent Parrots (eastern) are reluctant to fly over extensive open areas and require corridors of habitat to allow them to move between breeding and foraging sites. Many of these corridors and habitats have been cleared or degraded. Vegetated roadside corridors, now important as potential connecting flyways, are not always continuous (Sluiter et al. 2007). The mallee vegetation provides a year-round food-source, while the cereal crops that replace it provide only seasonal availability of food (Burbidge 1985; Webster 1991; Webster & Leslie 1998). In addition, remaining areas of mallee are often grazed by stock, reducing or eliminating much of the ground cover which provides the Parrots' food (Burbidge 1985; Garnett & Crowley 2000; Webster 1991).
In addition, nesting habitat in River Red Gum forests and woodlands along the Murray River has also been destroyed, and its regeneration has been, and continues to be, hampered by commercial logging for timber, firewood collection, ringbarking on agricultural land, salinisation and waterlogging (Burbidge 1985; Garnett & Crowley 2000). Commercial logging of River Red Gum woodlands reduces the availability of nesting sites by limiting the number of mature trees available for nesting. Logging also removes trees that are approaching a large-enough size to produce hollows in the near future. Salinisation or waterlogging through irrigation, flood mitigation and other alterations to river-flow, reduce or prevent the regeneration of River Red Gums by interfering with seedling germination (Burbidge 1985; Garnett & Crowley 2000; Higgins 1999; Smith 2001, 2004; Webster 1991; Webster & Leslie 1998).
There are also a number of other threats to the Regent Parrot (eastern). Use of agricultural and horticultural crops as foraging sites by Regent Parrots has exposed a proportion of the population to poisoning, shooting as pests in crops or orchards and, when feeding on spilled grain along roadsides, collisions with vehicles (Anonymous 1980; Burbidge 1985; Garnett & Crowley 2000; Smith 2001; Tzaros 2007, pers. comm.; Webster 1991; Webster & Leslie 1998). The loss of at least 41 Regent Parrots (eastern), including an estimated 33 mature adult breeding males as a result of death by shooting in northwest Victoria, is considered likely to severely compromise, if not eliminate entirely, the complete breeding colony from one of the largest known nesting sites of this species in Victoria (Sluiter et al. 2007). It is likely that the regional conservation status of the Regent Parrot (eastern) has been severely compromised, and it is possible it may result in the overall contraction of the Australian distribution of the species (Sluiter et al. 2007). Regent Parrots (eastern) are occasionally killed by eating poisoned grain intended for the control of rabbits (Burbidge 1985; Webster 1991). Additionally, feral Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) may exclude Regent Parrots from nest-hollows (Garnett & Crowley 2000; Smith 2001), although, overall, the availability of hollows in this case is considered not to be a limiting factor (Oldroyd et al. 1994).
The wild population of the Regent Parrot (eastern) may also be subject to disease. Beak and feather disease is an infectious disease afflicting many species of parrot, and is caused by the Beak and Feather Disease circovirus. This common disease apparently originated in Australia, and is capable of causing very high death rates in nestlings. The potential effects of the disease on parrot populations vary from inconsequential to devastating, depending on environmental conditions, and the general health and immunity of the parrots. Lesions suggestive of the disease have been found in the Regent Parrot (eastern). The Beak and Feather Disease virus has the potential to be introduced to disease-free parrots via the movements of individuals carrying the disease (DEH 2005q). Thus, release or translocation of parrots must be closely monitored so as not to introduce the disease into disease-free populations.
The Regent Parrot (eastern) relies on the specific combination of breeding habitat (usually River Red Gum forests and woodlands, and occasionally adjacent Black Box woodlands) and foraging habitat (mallee woodlands) to be located no more than 20 km from each other for successful reproduction. The clearance or degredation of either habitat type threatens the survival of the subspecies (Garnett & Crowley 2000).
The following actions have been recommended to maintain habitat quality for the Regent Parrot and to reduce threatening processes (Garnett & Crowley 2000; Webster & Leslie 1998):
- Logging operations should cease within 100 m of all known and probable breeding colonies.
- No logging within 20 m of major drainage systems identified as flight corridors.
- Logging operations should not be permitted to remove any trees over 1.5 m diameter at breast height.
- Using appropriate incentives, undertake extension with land-holders that have suitable woodland habitat to promote sound management of remnants and encourage greater connectivity between sub-populations.
- Develop and implement appropriate management guidelines for all woodland on public land, particularly timber reserves, transport corridors and local government land.
- Monitor population size regularly, both along the Murray River and in the Wimmera.
It has also been suggested that there be no removal of mallee vegetation within 20 km of the Murray River within the breeding zone of the Regent Parrot (eastern), and that no clearing take place of any woodland known or likely to provide food for Regent Parrots (eastern) (Garnett & Crowley 2000; Webster & Leslie 1998).
The Department of the Environment and Heritage (2005) has developed a threat abatement plan for Beak and Feather Disease which aims to:
- Ensure that Beak and Feather Disease does not increase the likelihood of extinction or escalate the threatened status of psittacine birds (parrots).
- Minimise the chance of Beak and Feather Disease becoming a key threatening process for other psittacine species.
A number of mitigation measures have been developed for the conservation of the Regent Parrot, and there is a draft of recommended strategies to combat each threat to the species (Burbidge 1985; Webster 1991; Webster & Leslie 1998). These include:
- Retention and protection from clearing of all areas of mallee vegetation that occur within 20 kilometres of known Regent Parrot breeding colonies. Reservation of those areas known to be key foraging areas, as well as corridors used by Regent Parrots to move between breeding and foraging habitats.
- Acquiring areas of River Red Gum woodland which are known to contain nesting sites of the Regent Parrot that are currently on leasehold or privately owned land.
- Protect a 60 meter wide strip of River Red Gum woodland or forest adjacent to the Murray River and selected tributaries to provide nesting habitat for Regent Parrots; this should exclude logging in these areas throughout the year, not just in the breeding season; and establishing a 100 meter buffer zone around known breeding sites.
- Protection of known nesting trees of the Regent Parrot that on privately owned land.
- Modification of forestry management techniques to ensure that disturbance of known breeding colonies of Regent Parrots is minimized or eliminated.
- Ensuring co-operation between authorities in different states to protect nest sites of the Regent Parrot.
- Increasing law enforcement when illegal trapping is reported or suspected.
- Use of non-lethal exclusion methods to prevent Regent Parrots (eastern) from raiding fruit trees (e.g. the use of plastic mesh to cover crops).
- Regulation or elimination of poisoned oats to control Rabbits.
- Minimizing the spillage of grain during road-based transport to minimize the chances of traffic-based fatalities.
There have been a number of studies conducted on the Regent Parrot (eastern). Summaries or reviews of the species and summaries of their ecology and occurrence in certain areas throughout the species' range have been published, such as those by Keartland (1903) and Tarr (1964). Recent studies (including results of surveys of the species conducted during the breeding season) include Beardsell (1985), Burbidge (1985), Webster (1991,1993,1999,2001,2002,2003,2004), Webster & Leslie (1998), Harper (1989) and Smith (1992,2001,2004).
The Action Plan for Australian Birds (Garnett & Crowley 2000) provides a guide to threat abatement and management strategies for the Regent Parrot (eastern). Recommended management strategies are also published in Harper (1989) and Smith (1992, 2001, 2004).
The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.
|Threat Class||Threatening Species||References|
|Agriculture and Aquaculture:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation||
Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006rt) [Internet].
The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000 (Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley, 2000) [Cwlth Action Plan].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Land clearance (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001w) [Listing Advice].
|Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes||Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006rt) [Internet].|
|Biological Resource Use:Hunting and Collecting Terrestrial Animals:illegal control||Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006rt) [Internet].|
|Biological Resource Use:Logging and Wood Harvesting:Habitat loss, modification and degradation due to firewood collection||Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006rt) [Internet].|
|Biological Resource Use:Logging and Wood Harvesting:Habitat loss, modification and degradation due to timber harvesting|
|Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations|
|Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation||Oryctolagus cuniculus (Rabbit, European Rabbit)||The threat posed by pest animals to biodiversity in New South Wales (Coutts-Smith, A.J., P.S. Mahon, M. Letnic & P.O. Downey, 2007) [Management Plan].|
|Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation||Apis mellifera (Honey Bee, Apiary Bee)|
|Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:pest animal control|
|Natural System Modifications:Other Ecosystem Modifications:Changes in hydrology leading to rising water tables and dryland salinity|
|Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals|
|Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Vehicle related mortality|
Anonymous (1980). Road-kills of Regent Parrots at Kiamal, Victoria. Bird Observer. 587:99.
Barrett, G., A. Silcocks, S. Barry, R. Cunningham & R. Poulter (2003). The New Atlas of Australian Birds. Melbourne, Victoria: Birds Australia.
Beardsell, C. (1985). The Regent Parrot: A report on the nest-site survey in south-eastern Australia, Septmber 1983 to January 1984. Australian National Parks & Wildlife Service, Canberra.
Bedggood, G.W. (1958). Parrots and cockatoos of the Mooroopna district, Victoria. Emu. 58:72-73.
Blakers, M., S.J.J.F. Davies & P.N. Reilly (1984). The Atlas of Australian Birds. Melbourne, Victoria: Melbourne University Press.
Boehm, E.H. (1939). Birds of the Morgan and Cadell districts, S.A. South Australian Ornithologist. 15:38-46.
Burbidge, A. (1985). The Regent Parrot: A report on the breeding distribution and habitat requirements along the Murray River in south-eastern Australia. Australian National Parks & Wildlife Service, Canberra.
Campbell, A.J. (1900). Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds. Sheffield, Private.
Christidis, L. & W.E. Boles (1994). The Taxonomy and Species of Birds of Australia and its Territories. Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union Monograph 2. Melbourne, Victoria: Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union.
Cogger, H.G. (1983). Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Sydney, Reed.
Condon, H.T. (1947). Branch reports South Australia. Emu. 46:252-253.
Condon, H.T. (1969). A Handlist of Birds of South Australia. Adelaide: SA Ornithologists Association.
Cooper, R.M. & I.A.W. McAllan (1995). The Birds of Western New South Wales. Preliminary Atlas. Albury, NSW: NSW Bird Atlassers.
Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) (2005q). Threat Abatement Plan for Beak and Feather Disease Affecting Endangered Psittacine Species. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/beak-feather.html.
Emison,W.B., C.M. Beardsell, F.I. Norman, R.H. Loyn & S.C. Bennett (1987). Atlas of Victorian Birds. Melbourne: Department of Conservation (Forest & Lands) & Royal Australian Ornithological Union.
Forshaw, J.M. & W.T. Cooper (2002). Australian Parrots, 3rd edition. Robina, Queensland: Alexander Editions.
Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley (2000). The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000. [Online]. Canberra, ACT: Environment Australia and Birds Australia. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/action/birds2000/index.html.
Glover, B. (1968). Bird report 1966-1967. South Australian Ornithologist. 25:29-45.
Glover, B. (1973). Bird report 1970-71. South Australian Ornithologist. 26:92-99.
Harman, I. (1962). Bird-Keeping in Australia. Sydney, Angus & Robertson.
Harper, M.J. (1989). Regent Parrot Polytelis anthopeplus Breeding Sites in the Riverland, South Australia, 1989. Page(s) 1989. Unpublished report to the South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, Adelaide.
Higgins, P.J. (ed.) (1999). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume Four - Parrots to Dollarbird. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
Hutchins, B.R. & R.H. Lovell (1985). Australian Parrots: A Field and Aviary Study. Avicultural Society of Australia, Melbourne.
Joseph, L. (1978). Range and movements of the Regent Parrot in South Australia. South Australian Ornithologist. 28:26-27.
Keartland, G.A. (1903). Notes on the genera Polytelis and Spathopterus. Victorian Naturalist. 19:151-153.
Lendon, A.H. (1979). Australian Parrots in Field and Aviary. Sydney: Angus & Robertson.
Low, R. (1980). Parrots, Their Care and Breeding. Blandford Press, Poole, UK.
Mack, K.J. (1970). Birds of the North-East of South Australia. South Australian Ornithologist. 25:126-141.
Magrath, M.J.L., M.A. Weston, P. Olsen & M. Antos (2004). Draft Survey Standards for Birds: Species Accounts. Melbourne, Victoria: Report for the Department of the Environment and Heritage by Birds Australia.
Marchant, S. & P.J. Higgins, eds. (1993). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 2 - Raptors to Lapwings. Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.
McGilp, J.N. (1934a). Notes on a few of the birds seen about the River Murray, October 1933. South Australian Ornithologist. 12:144-148.
Morgan, A.M. (1917). Birds on the River Murray. South Australian Ornithologist. 3:99-109.
Morris, A.K., A.R. McGill & G. Holmes (1981). Handlist of Birds in New South Wales. Sydney: NSW Field Ornithologists Club.
North, A.J. (1901-1914). Nests and Eggs of Birds Found Breeding in Australia and Tasmania. Sydney, NSW: Australian Museum.
Oldroyd, B.P., S.H. Lawler & R.H. Crozier (1994). Do feral Honeybees (Apis mellifera) and Regent Parrots (Polytelis anthopeplus) compete for nest sites?. Australian Journal of Ecology. 19:444-450.
Olsen, P.D. & Olsen, J. (1986). Distribution, status, movements and breeding of the Grey Falcon Falco hypoleucos. Emu. 86:46-51.
Reid, N. (1976). Bird Report, 1975. South Australian Ornithologist. 27:147-158.
Ross, J.A. & F.E. Howe (1930). Parrots of the genus Polytelis. Emu. 29:161-162.
Schodde, R. & B. Glover (1955). Excursion to Moorook. South Australian Ornithologist. 21:65-72.
Shephard, M. (1989). Aviculture in Australia: Keeping and Breeding Aviary Birds. Melbourne: Black Cockatoo Press.
Shephard, M. (1989a). Recommendations on the Captive Breeding of the Regent Parrot in South Australia as an Aid to its Conservation and Management. Goodwood, South Australia, Avicultutal Society of South Australia.
Sluiter, I., P. Robertson and D. Morgan (2008). Observations on the Regent Parrot in the Ouyen Area: Results and Implications of a Non-Breeding Season Survey in March 2008.
Sluiter, I.R.K., P. Robertson & R. Webster (2007). Victim impact statement: Threatened wildlife damage: the Regent Parrot (eastern sub-species) population at Yungera, north-western Victoria - November 2006. Victoria, Department of Sustainability and Environment.
Smith, K. (1992). The Regent Parrot in South Australia. Unpublished report to the Department of Environment and Heritage, Adelaide.
Smith, K. (2001). Regent Parrot Nest Survey 2000. Unpublished report to the South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Council, Adelaide.
Smith, K. (2004). Regent Parrot Nest Survey 2003-2004. Unpublished report to the Threatened Species Network, Adelaide.
Sonter, C. (1984a). Regent Parrots feeding on fruit of the Box Mistletoe. Australian Bird Watcher. 10:239-240.
Sullivan, C. (1967). Parrots and cockatoos in the Victorian Mallee. Australian Bird Watcher. 3:52-54.
Tarr, H.E. (1964). The Regent Parrot. Australian Bird Watcher. 2:98-100.
Tzaros, C.L. (2007). Personal communication.
Webster, R. (1991). The Biology and Management of the Regent Parrot (Polytelis anthopeplus) in New South Wales. NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, Sydney.
Webster, R. (1993). Re-assessment of Regent Parrot Nest Sites in New South Wales (Kemendoc Nature Reserve and Mallee Cliffs State Forest). Unpubl. report to NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service.
Webster, R. (1999). Further Assessment of Regent Parrot Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides Breeding Habitat in South-western New South Wales. Unpublished report to New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service and State Forests of New South Wales, Sydney.
Webster, R. (2001). Regent Parrot nesting on Tammit Western Lands Lease. Unpublished report to NSW State Forests.
Webster, R. (2001a). Trial Regent Parrot Polytelis anthopeplus Foraging Study. Unpublished report to the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Webster, R. (2002). Surveys of Regent Parrot Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides Breeding Colonies in Victoria Between Piambie State Forest and Nangiloc. Unpublished report to Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura.
Webster, R. (2003). Further Surveys of Regent Parrot Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides Breeding Colonies in Victoria Between Piambie State Forest and Nangiloc. Unpublished report to Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura.
Webster, R. (2003a). Regent Parrot Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides surveys along the Murray River between Maine and Mallee Cliffs State Forests. Unpublished report to NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Webster, R. (2003b). Survey for nesting Regent Parrot Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides on Buchans Logging Coupe, Yungera Island State Forest, Victoria. Unpublished report to Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
Webster, R. (2004). Surveys of Potential Regent Parrot Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides Nesting Habitat in Victoria Between Piambie State Forest and Lambert Island. Unpublished report to Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Mildura.
Webster, R. (2005). Regent Parrot Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides surveys in south-western New South Wales along the Wakool and Murray Rivers. Unpublished report to NSW Department of Environment and Conservation.
Webster, R. & D. Leslie (1998). Assessment of Regent Parrot Polytelis anthopeplus breeding habitat in south-western New South Wales. Unpubl. report to State Forests of NSW and NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service.
White, S.A. (1914). Birds identified, Lower Murray excursion, December 1913. Emu. 13:122-129.
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Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Mon, 22 Sep 2014 16:38:47 +1000.