Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database


For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
 
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 Endangered as Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, this species had a recovery plan in force at the time the legislation provided for the Minister to decide whether or not to have a recovery plan (19/2/2007).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans Coxen's Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team, 2001) [Recovery Plan] as Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni.
 
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
    Legislative Instruments
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 Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni.
 
List of Migratory Species (13/07/2000) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000b) [Legislative Instrument] as Psittaculirostris diophthalma coxeni.
 
List of Migratory Species - Amendment to the list of migratory species under section 209 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (26/11/2013) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2013af) [Legislative Instrument] as Psittaculirostris diophthalma coxeni.
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
NSW:Fleshy Fruited Fruit Trees- North east NSW. Natural Resource Management Advisory Series: Note 5 (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2004e) [Information Sheet].
NSW:Old Growth Forests - North east NSW. Natural Resource Management Advisory Series: Note 5 (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2004f) [Information Sheet].
NSW:Double-eyed Fig-parrot - profile (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2005bv) [Internet].
NSW:Double-eyed Fig-parrot Threatened Species Information (NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS), 1999aw) [Information Sheet].
NSW:Recovery Plan for the Coxen's Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni (Gould) (NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS), 2002i) [State Recovery Plan].
NSW:Review of the Threatened Species Conservation Act Schedules 2007-2009 (NSW Scientific Committee (NSW SC), 2009b) [State Species Management Plan].
Non-government
    Documents and Websites
Biodiversity Recovery Plan for Gatton and Laidley Shires, South-East Queensland 2003-2008 (Boyes, B., 2004).
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Critically Endangered (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): December 2013 list) as Cyclopsitta diopthalma coxeni
QLD: Listed as Endangered (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): May 2014 list) as Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni
Non-statutory Listing Status
NGO: Listed as Endangered (The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2010)
Scientific name Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni [59714]
Family Psittacidae:Psittaciformes:Aves:Chordata:Animalia
Species author  
Infraspecies author Gould,1867
Reference  
Other names Psittaculirostris diophthalma coxeni [26038]
Cyclopsitta diopthalma coxeni [84731]
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

Scientific name: Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni.

Common name: Coxen's Fig-Parrot.

Other common names: Coxen's Lorilet; Blue-browed, Red-faced or Southern Fig-Parrot or Lorilet. Coxen's Fig-Parrot is a subspecies of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot (Higgins 1999).

The taxonomy of Coxen's Fig-Parrot is contentious. Coxen's Fig-Parrot and the other two subspecies of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot that occur within Australia, C. d. marshalli and C. d. macleayana, were formerly treated as separate species (Higgins 1999). Coxen's Fig-Parrot was considered to be a unique species on the basis of its large size (compared to the other subspecies) and the lack of dimorphism between the sexes (both males and female have predominantly blue colouration on the forehead (Mathews 1946; Rothschild & Hartert 1901).

This treatment was rejected by Forshaw (1967a), despite claims that the morphological differences between Coxen's Fig-Parrot and the other subspecies of C. diophthalma were almost sufficient to warrant the recognition of Coxen's Fig-Parrot as a distinct species (Keast 1961). However, there has been an unconfirmed report that the eggs of Coxen's Fig-Parrot may be larger than those of the other two Australian subspecies, and may possess a unique shell morphology (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001). Furthermore, the arrangement of the primary feathers in Coxen's Fig-Parrot is different from the arrangement in the other two Australian subspecies (Higgins 1999), and it is claimed that these differences in feather arrangement may be sufficient to denote Coxen's Fig-Parrot as a separate species (NSW NPWS 2002). The taxonomy of Coxen's Fig-Parrot requires further examination (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

Coxen's Fig-Parrot is a small parrot that measures approximately 13 to 16 cm in length (Higgins 1999; Pizzey & Knight 1997). No information is available on the weight of the birds, but measurements of the other Australian subspecies suggest that Coxen's Fig-Parrot is likely to weigh about 35 to 40 g (Higgins 1999).

The adults are predominantly bright green, but have a prominent yellow line along the flanks and the sides of the breast, blue edges on the primary feathers, bright red marks on the tertial feathers, broad cream bands and grey-black edging on the undersides of the wings, and dark grey edging around the underside of the tail. They also have a distinctive facial pattern that consists of a patch of light-blue on the forehead, a curving band of red (edged and mottled with yellow) below the eye (extending from the base of the upper mandible to the ear coverts), and a curving band of violet-blue (extending from the base of the lower mandible) that borders the lower edge of the curving red band. They have a robust bill that is light-grey at the base and grades to greyish-black at the tip, dark-grey skin around the base of the upper mandible, brown irises, grey-black skin around the eyes, and light grey legs and feet. The sexes are alike in appearance, and may be inseparable in the field (Higgins 1999). Juvenile Coxen's Fig-Parrots can be distinguished from the adult birds on the basis of bill colour (Gynther 2006, pers. comm.).

Coxen's Fig-Parrot is usually observed singly, in pairs or, especially during winter, in small flocks of up to 12 birds (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Plan 2001; Gynther 2006, pers. comm.; Holmes 1990; Irby 1930; Martindale 1986; Norris 1964). The other Australian subspecies, C. d. macleayana and C. d. marshalli, roost together in communal gatherings that may contain up to 200 birds (Bourke & Austin 1947; Forshaw 1967b; Holmes 1995). Communal roosting has not been recorded in Coxen's Fig-Parrot, but it has been speculated that communal roosting may formerly have occurred when the population size was greater (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Plan 2001; Holmes 1995). No information is available on the breeding dispersion in Coxen's Fig-Parrot, but it is likely that Coxen's Fig-Parrot, like other subspecies of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, breeds in solitary pairs (Forshaw & Muller 1978; Higgins 1999).

The distribution of Coxen's Fig-Parrot is poorly known. Based on accepted records, the core distribution extends from Gympie in south-eastern Queensland to the Richmond River in north-eastern New South Wales, and west to the Bunya Mountains, Main Range and Koreelah Range (Holmes 1990). Historical records from near Maryborough (Kinghorn 1936) and Stanthorpe (Jack 1959) in Queensland and the Macleay River in New South Wales (De Warren 1928), which are indicative of a more widespread distribution, have not been universally accepted (Beruldsen 2002; Blakers et al. 1984; Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Forshaw 1979, 1981). However, there have been recent and credible (but usually unsubstantiated) reports of Coxen's Fig-Parrot from north of the accepted range including the Rockhampton area, Deepwater National Park (between Gladstone and Bundaberg) and the greater Bundaberg area in Queensland, and from south of the accepted range in the Hastings River area in New South Wales (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Gynther et al. 1998; Holmes 1995). These records suggest that the distribution of Coxen's Fig-Parrot may be much more widespread than has previously been recognized (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

In Queensland, the most recent reliable records of Coxen's Fig-Parrot are from near Imbil, Kin Kin Creek, Upper Pinbarren Creek, Montville, the Maleny area, Mount Glorious, Main Range National Park and Lamington National Park (Gynther 2006, pers. comm.).

In New South Wales, recent credible records have been obtained from Border Ranges National Park, Tweed River valley, Nightcap Range and the Hastings River area (Gynther 2006, pers. comm.).The extent of occurrence is estimated to be 70 000 km². This estimate, which is based on published maps, is considered to of medium reliability (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

The distribution of Coxen's Fig-Parrot (and, hence, the extent of occurrence) was thought to have undergone a substantial decline after the 1950s (Martindale 1986). However, the number and geographic spread of recent records suggests that the distribution (and, hence, the area of occupancy) may not have changed, and that instead Coxen's Fig-Parrot might be broadly dispersed, but in sparse numbers or small subpopulations, across a much greater area than was previously thought (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Higgins 1999).

The extent of occurrence is suspected to be stable at present, but there is little evidence available to determine trends in the extent of occurrence (Garnett & Crowley 2000).The area of occupancy is estimated to be 140 km². This estimate is based on the number of 1 km² grid squares that the fig-parrot is thought to occur in at the time when its population is most constrained. The estimate is considered to be of low reliability (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

The area of occupancy is likely to have declined around the turn of the 20th century, when numbers of Coxen's Fig-Parrot are thought to have declined and reached critical levels (Cayley 1938; Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Illidge 1924; Martindale 1986).

The area of occupancy is suspected to be stable at present, but there is little evidence available to determine any trends (Garnett & Crowley 2000).There have been no estimates of the number of locations in which Coxen's Fig-Parrot occurs. The number of locations is difficult to estimate because the movements of the subspecies are largely unknown, and hence it currently is not possible to determine whether sightings made in different locations are of the same, or of different, birds (Gynther 2006, pers. comm.).

There are no captive populations of Coxen's Fig-Parrot. The establishment of a captive breeding program has been advocated in all three published recovery plans (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Davidson 1993; New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2002). However, the failure to locate active nests of the subspecies (from which breeding stock could be acquired) has impeded the initiation of a captive breeding population (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2002).

The distribution (and, hence, total population) of Coxen's Fig-Parrot is severely fragmented (Garnett & Crowley 2000; Higgins 1999). The fragmentation of the fig-parrot population and its habitat was caused by the widespread clearing of lowland rainforest and logging of rainforest trees that occurred around the turn of the 20th century (Cayley 1938; Illidge 1924; Martindale 1986). However, the fragmentation of the fig-parrot habitat may be slowly decreasing in severity due to the introduction of government and privately sponsored programs to rehabilitate rainforest ecosystems (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

There have been a number of targeted surveys during the past two decades (Gynther 1996a, 1996b, 1997a, 1997b; Gynther & O'Reilly 1997,1998; Gynther et al. 1998; Holmes 1990, 1995; Martindale 1986, 1996). However, despite the intensive search effort in recent years, very few birds have been located. The lack of records makes it difficult to make an accurate estimate or assessment of the distribution and population size (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

The total population of Coxen's Fig-Parrot is estimated at 100 breeding birds. This estimate is considered to be of low reliability (Garnett & Crowley 2000). The accurate estimation of total population size is made difficult by the extremely low number of records that are available for this subspecies: Coxen's Fig-Parrot was recorded just over 200 times between 1866 (when it was first discovered) and the turn of the 21st century (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

Coxen's Fig-Parrot is estimated to occur in four subpopulations: greater Bundaberg region, Maleny/Imbil/Kin Kin Creek area, the Qld/NSW border area (Lamington National Park, Whian Whian State Forest, Alstonville plateau), and the upper Hastings River catchment. This estimate is considered to be of low reliability (i.e. there is uncertainty about the number of subpopulations and the extent of genetic separation between subpopulations) (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

The largest of the subpopulations is estimated to consist of 50 breeding birds. This estimate is considered to be of low reliability (Garnett & Crowley 2000). No information is available on the number of birds in any of the other three subpopulations, or on the localities, trends in numbers or tenures of land of any of the four subpopulations.

Although the tenure of land has not been recorded for any discrete subpopulations, most records of Coxen's Fig-Parrot have been obtained on public land (i.e. national parks and state forests), although many sightings at the northern limits of the distribution (from the Gympie area northward) have been on freehold land (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

The total population of Coxen's Fig-Parrot (estimated at 100 breeding birds) is suspected to be declining in size (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Garnett & Crowley 2000). No data are available to illustrate this trend, but the precarious state of the Coxen's Fig-Parrot population is evidenced by the fact that targeted surveys conducted during the past two decades have recorded very few birds and have found little other evidence of the subspecies' existence (Gynther 1996a, 1996b; Gynther & O'Reilly 1998; Gynther et al. 1998; Holmes 1990, 1995; Martindale 1986, 1996). Despite the lack of success by targeted surveys, incidental sightings continue to be reported sporadically by members of the public. This suggests that Coxen's Fig-Parrot continues to persist, but in very low numbers (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

Coxen's Fig-Parrot was probably never a common bird (Chisholm 1929; Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Irby 1930), and may have been declining before the arrival of Europeans (New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2002). Nonetheless, it is likely that its numbers declined to critical levels around the turn of the 20th century due to the clearing of lowland rainforest for residential and agricultural purposes and the logging of rainforest trees (Illidge 1924; Cayley 1938; Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Martindale 1986).

The generation length is estimated to be two years. This estimate is considered to be of low reliability due to a lack of reliable data on the life history of Coxen's Fig-Parrot (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

No populations of Coxen's Fig-Parrot have been identified as being of special importance to the recovery effort. The lack of knowledge about the subspecies and its distribution (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001) makes it impossible to assess the importance of individual populations and, indeed, indicates that all remaining populations are important for the long-term survival of the subspecies.

There have been no published records of cross-breeding or hybridization between Coxen's Fig-Parrot and any other subspecies of C. diophthalma, or between Coxen's Fig-Parrot and any other species.

Coxen's Fig-Parrot has been recorded in 16 conservation reserves (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

In Queensland, it has been recorded in Bunya Mountains National Park, Burrum Coast National Park, Conondale National Park, Deepwater National Park, Great Sandy National Park, Lamington National Park, Main Range National Park, Mapleton Falls National Park and Mount Pinbarren National Park (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

In New South Wales, it has been recorded in Border Ranges National Park, Nightcap National Park, Richmond Range National Park, Tooloom National Park, Toonumbar National Park, Boatharbour Nature Reserve and Booyong Nature Reserve (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

Coxen's Fig-Parrot occupies habitats that occur from sea level to approximately 900 m above sea level (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

Coxen's Fig-Parrot occurs in rainforest habitats including subtropical rainforest, dry rainforest, littoral and developing littoral rainforest, and vine forest (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Holmes 1990; Templeton 1992). The fig-parrot was, in the past, probably most abundant in lowland subtropical rainforest (Holmes 1990, 1994b). However, this rainforest was extensively cleared following the arrival of Europeans (Cayley 1938; Illidge 1924; Martindale 1986). The remaining populations are now concentrated into fragmented remnants of dry rainforest and cool subtropical rainforest that are drier and more hilly than the habitats that were occupied in the past (Holmes 1990; Martindale 1986). Within these rainforest habitats, the fig-parrot is likely to favour alluvial areas that support figs and other trees with fleshy fruits (Holmes 1990; Martindale 1986), in particular, habitats that have a high diversity of fig species, and that have a fruiting season that is staggered across moisture and altitudinal gradients (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

Most recent records of the fig-parrot have been from small stands of remnant native vegetation, at forest edges (Holmes 1994a), and in thin tracts of gallery forest (at edges of rivers or streams) (Norris 1964). Coxen's Fig-Parrot has also been recorded in other habitat types including sub-littoral mixed scrub; corridors of riparian vegetation in woodland, open woodland or other types of cleared or partially-cleared habitat; and isolated stands of fig or other trees on urban, agricultural or cleared land (Corfe 1977; Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Irby 1930).

Nests of Coxen's Fig-Parrot have been recorded in subtropical rainforest and dry rainforest, and in the ecotone (i.e. the zone of transition) between subtropical rainforest and sclerophyll forest (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Holmes 1994a, 1995).

Coxen's Fig-parrots have also been recorded at trees in gardens, cultivated farmlands, and along streets in country towns (Forshaw 1969; Gynther et al. 1998; Holmes 1990; Irby 1930; Morris & McGill 1980).

The precise age of sexual maturity is unknown but, in captivity, pairs of the closely-related subspecies C. d. macleyana can breed in immature plumage (Taylor 1975). No information is available on life expectancy or ages of natural mortality.

The breeding biology of Coxen's Fig-Parrot is almost entirely unknown. The breeding season is thought to extend from October to December or January (Holmes 1990, 1995). The nest is placed in a chamber that is excavated in the rotting wood of a decaying limb or trunk of a living or dead tree (Chisholm 1924; Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Plan 2001; Holmes 1995). The only description of the nest and eggs, published by Kinghorn (1936), has subsequently been declared to be erroneous (Beruldsen 2002; Forshaw 1979), therefore the appearance of the nest and eggs is unknown. Based on information from other fig-parrots and observations of Coxen's Fig-Parrot in groups of four (presumed to be adults and juveniles) late in the season, it is likely that the female normally lays two eggs to a clutch (Holmes 1990, 1995; Irby 1930). No information is available on the incubation or fledging periods but they are likely to be similar to those of C. d. macleayana, which, in captivity, are approximately 18-24 days and 34-42 days or more, respectively (Forshaw 1981; Hibbert 1988; Higgins 1999; Romer & Spittall 1994). No information is available on breeding success, but captive birds of the related subspecies C. d. macleayana are capable of laying up to three clutches in a single season (Romer & Spittall 1994).

Coxen's Fig-Parrot feeds on seeds and, occasionally, nectar and lichen. Food is mainly taken from fig trees, especially Ficus macrophylla and F. watkinsiana, but also F. rubiginosa, F. virens, F. obliqua, F. racemosa, F. coronata, F. opposita, F. fraseri, F. superba and the introduced F. carica. Other food plants that have been recorded in the diet include Elaeocarpus grandis, Syzygium corynanthum, Litsea reticulata and Grevillea robusta, and the introduced species Cotoneaster lacteus, Eriobotrya japonica and Syagrus romanzoffianum (Chisholm 1924; Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Plan 2001; Forshaw 1969; Gynther et al. 1998; Holmes 1990; Irby 1930; Romer & Spitall 1994). It is possible that the fig-parrot feeds at introduced plants when native foods become scarce (Holmes 1990).

It is possible that Coxen's Fig-Parrot may also take some other food items. For example, other subspecies of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot have been recorded feeding on insect larvae (Gill 1970) and what appeared to be bark or fungus (Forshaw 1981) and, at the species level, the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot is known to eat flies and weevil larvae (Barker & Vestjens, undated).

Little is known about the foraging behaviour of Coxen's Fig-Parrot. It mainly forages among the upper branches and foliage of tall trees where it takes seeds from fruits or, occasionally, nectar from flowers (Chisholm 1924; Lendon 1973; Holmes 1990; Irby 1930). It can return to the same food tree for several days in succession, or in successive years (Holmes 1990). Anecdotal evidence suggests that individual food trees may be used regularly until their supply of fruit is exhausted (Gynther et al. 1998).

Coxen's Fig-Parrot usually forages in twos, or in small groups of up to 12 birds (Holmes 1990; Illidge 1924; Lendon 1973). It often forages in the company of other species including Wompoo Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus magnificus, Topknot Pigeon Lopholaimus antarcticus and other pigeons, Figbird Sphecotheres viridis, Green Catbird Ailuroedus crassirostris, and parrots including Scaly-breasted Lorikeet Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus, Musk Lorikeet Glossopsitta concinna, Little Lorikeet G. pusilla and Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans (Holmes 1990; Irby 1930; Lendon 1973).

Coxen's Fig-Parrot is usually very quiet and inconspicuous when feeding. Consequently, it may be less vulnerable to predators when foraging than it is at other times (Martindale 2002, pers. comm.).

Coxen's Fig-Parrot is known to undertake some local movements, probably in response to changes in the availability of food (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001). In some highland areas, fig-parrots may move to increasingly higher altitudes from August to February, following the wave of ripening fruit through the rainforest (Holmes 1995). This is supported by evidence from the Sarabah Range, where Coxen's Fig-Parrot has been recorded from August to February (Holmes 1990), and the Blackall Range, where the abundance of Coxen's Fig-Parrot was said to increase in August (Chisholm 1924). The wave of ripening fruit then retreats to the lowlands from March to about October. The occurrence of Coxen's Fig-Parrot in lowland districts between October and March (Holmes 1990) suggests that the birds return to the lowland districts to take advantage of these food resources (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001). There appears to be little or no altitudinal migration in areas that have sufficient food resources to support a subpopulation throughout the year (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

The home range size of Coxen's Fig-Parrot is unknown, and no information is available on the existence or use of territories (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001). The use of breeding territories has been recorded in the related subspecies C. d. marshalli (Forshaw & Muller 1978) and, given this, it would seem likely that pairs of Coxen's Fig-Parrot maintain breeding territories also.

Coxen's Fig-Parrot is unlikely to be mistaken for any other species if it is perched and clearly visible. However, it is possible that the fig-parrot could be confused with the Scaly-breasted Lorikeet Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus, Musk Lorikeet Glossopsitta concinna or Little Lorikeet G. pusilla, especially if seen in flight. The three lorikeet species listed above all have predominantly green plumage and occur within the known range of Coxen's Fig-Parrot. For characters that can be used to distinguish between Coxen's Fig-Parrot and the lorikeet species listed above, see Higgins (1999). Non-experienced observers may also confuse Coxen's Fig-Parrot with exotic lovebirds Agapornis, which are somewhat similar in appearance (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

Coxen's Fig-Parrot can be difficult to detect. This is because of its small size and predominantly green plumage, which makes it difficult to see against the foliage of the rainforest trees that it frequents (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Plan 2001; Norris 1964), and because it is generally quiet and unobtrusive when feeding (Chisholm 1924; Irby 1930; Magrath et al. 2004). It can sometimes be detected by the falling debris that is discarded during feeding (Chisholm 1924; Magrath et al. 2004) or by its soft, chattering call (Magrath et al. 2004). It can be noisy and conspicuous when in flight (Magrath et al. 2004), but it travels quickly and high above the forest canopy (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Irby 1930).

The apparent decline in Coxen's Fig-Parrot numbers around the turn of 20th century was probably due to the loss of habitat caused by the clearing of lowland rainforest for residential and agricultural purposes and the logging of rainforest trees (Cayley 1938; Illidge 1924; Martindale 1986).

The current potential threats to Coxen's Fig-Parrot include:

  • The degradation of habitat by invasive weeds, especially in remnants of lowland riparian subtropical rainforest where figs and other fleshy-fruited rainforest trees are concentrated (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Joseph 1988). The precise impact of weed invasion upon the Coxen's Fig-Parrot population is unknown, but significant invasion of gallery rainforest by the creeper Macfadyena unguis-cati has been recorded near Bundaberg in Queensland in close proximity to recent sightings of the fig-parrot (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

  • The loss and degradation of habitat due to logging in the ecotone (i.e. zone of transition) between subtropical rainforest and eucalypt forest (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

  • The loss of isolated stands of fig trees (which are likely to be an important source of food over winter) due to a lack of natural recruitment (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

  • The illegal collection of birds or eggs for the avicultural trade (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Plan 2001; Holmes 1990).

  • The associated impacts of the fragmentation, poor quality and small area of the remaining habitat, and the small population size (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001). For example, the lack of connections between habitat patches may provide a barrier to dispersal; the small population size and the fragmented state of the population and its habitat may make it difficult for birds to find sufficient food, particularly during winter; the lack of habitat may have increased the amount of competition between the fig-parrot and other species of birds, and possibly between the fig-parrot and flying-foxes, for limited resources; and the small population size (or, more specifically, the lack of social interaction) could inhibit birds from breeding (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Garnett 1993).

Other factors that have the potential to impact upon the Coxen's Fig-Parrot include disease, stochastic events such as drought, and potential changes in the social structure of the population caused by the decline in population size (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Plan 2001).

The main aim of the recovery effort for Coxen's Fig-Parrot has been to establish the size and distribution of the fig-parrot population, and to improve the quality and extent of the fig-parrot's habitat. However, because the status of the subspecies is so poorly known, it is difficult to predict if these measures are sufficient to secure the long-term survival of Coxen's Fig-Parrot (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

The following recovery actions have been implemented:

  • Field surveys have been conducted in Queensland and New South Wales (Gynther 1996a, 1996b; Gynther & O'Reilly 1998; Holmes 1990, 1994a, 1995; Martindale 1986).

  • Captive breeding trials have been conducted. These trials have used another subspecies of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, C. d. macleayana, to develop captive breeding techniques for Coxen's Fig-Parrot (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

  • Information on the biology and ecology has been summarised (Holmes 1990).

  • Three recovery plans (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Davidson 1993; New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2002) and two recovery outlines (Garnett 1993; Garnett & Crowley 2000) have been produced.

  • A recovery team has been formed (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

  • Habitat has been mapped at some sites in New South Wales (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Horton 1996; Jago 1997).

  • Habitat has been rehabilitated. This has been achieved through the implementation of fig tree planting programs in Queensland and New South Wales, and the funding of projects to rehabilitate and revegetate remnant gallery rainforest on the Sunshine Coast of south-eastern Queensland (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Gynther 2006).

  • A study has been conducted conducted to identify potential lowland habitat and to determine the characteristics of fig-parrot habitats (Jago 1997).

  • Caged fig-parrots of the subspecies C. d. macleayana have been placed at some sites in an attempt to attract Coxen's Fig-Parrots (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Martindale 1996).

  • Efforts have been made to inform and educate the public about Coxen's Fig-Parrot and its status. Initiatives have included the publication of articles in ornithological and natural history periodicals, the distribution of more than 10 000 information brochures, coverage in the media in both Queensland and New South Wales, and presentations to various interest groups (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

  • Funding has been provided to investigate the genetic relationships between the Australian subspecies of the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

  • Guidelines have been formulated for the establishment and operation of a Coxen's Fig-Parrot Records Appraisal Committee to appraise incidental sightings (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001).

The two most recent recovery plans propose to continue with and expand upon the actions described above. The following recovery actions have been proposed (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 2002):

  • Implemention of an ecological assessment and monitoring strategy. This will involve ongoing survey of foraging and nesting sites, the ongoing use of caged C. d. macleayana at priority sites, the development and implementation of a formal records appraisal system, the development and maintenance of a records database, studies to determine the potential for prey remains discarded by forest-dwelling raptors to be used to identify locations and habitats occupied by the fig-parro, the collection of ecological data from known fig-parrot sites, the predictive computer modelling of the fig-parrot's distribution, the implementation of a monitoring strategy at occupied sites, the clarification of the taxonomic status of the subspecies, the introduction and implementation of remote survey techniques, studies on the related C. d. macleayana, and a search of the ornithological literature.

  • Establishment of a captive breeding population and implementation of a trial release program. This will involve the development of a captive breeding protocol, ongoing release trials with the analogue subspecies C. d. macleayana, the upgrade of existing facilities and the planning (and eventually construction) of new facilities, and initiation of the captive breeding program (once founder stock is acquired).

  • Assessment of habitat. This will involve mapping the distribution of suitable habitat within the fig-parrot's range, and investigating the food resources used by the subspecies.

  • Protection and enhancement of habitat. This will involve the development of management guidelines for logging operations in areas of identified fig-parrot habitat, the regulation of land-use by state and local authorities, the rehabilitation of habitat, and the implementation of programs to assist the propagation of food trees.

  • Implementation of a community awareness strategy. This will involved the development and maintenance of a community conservation network, and the establishment of a community participation and publicity campaign.

  • Management and coordination of the recovery process.

The Queensland Environmental Protection Agency and the New South Wales Department of Environment and Conservation have been involved in the conservation effort for Coxen's Fig-Parrot. Many other organizations have also been involved in the recovery effort (Garnett & Crowley 2000; I. Gynther June 2006, pers. comm.), those that have received government funding are listed below.

The Mary River Catchment Co-ordinating Committee received $15 000 of funding through the Threatened Species Network Community Grants in 2002-03, part of which was for the survey and mapping of threatened species in rainforest areas of the upper Mary River catchment; and the identification, revegetation and rehabilitation of strategic corridor linkages and gaps to reconnect habitat.

Barung Landcare Association (QLD) received $35 000 of funding through the Threatened Species Network Community Grants in 2000-01, part of which was for enhancing the long-term health of 646 ha of significant Council and State forest reserves (inhabited by Coxen's Fig-parrot) through the establishment of buffer zones and the linkage of remnant patches using local indigenous plants.

Save Today our Parkland (STOP) (QLD) received $20 000 of funding through the Threatened Species Network Community Grants in 2001-02, part of which was for the restoration and expansion of Coxen's Fig-parrot habitat at three sites near Kin Kin in the Noosa Shire, as well as ongoing monitoring to assist in gauging the success of a revegetation program.

There have been two published major studies on Coxen's Fig-Parrot (Holmes 1990; Martindale 1986). There have also been several unpublished surveys for Coxen's Fig-Parrot, for example by Gynther (1996a, 1996b, 1997a, 1997b), Gynther and O'Reilly (1997), Gynther and colleagues (Gynther et al. 1998), Holmes (1994a, 1994b, 1995) and Martindale (1996).

There are three published recovery plans for Coxen's Fig-Parrot (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team 2001; Davidson 1993; NSW NPWS 2002).

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 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].
Biological Resource Use:Hunting and Collecting Terrestrial Animals:Illegal hunting/harvesting and collection Coxen's Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team, 2001) [Recovery Plan].
Biological Resource Use:Logging and Wood Harvesting:Habitat loss, modification and degradation due to timber harvesting Coxen's Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team, 2001) [Recovery Plan].
Report on Coxen's Fig Parrot Search, Stage 2, 16-20 September 1996. An unpublished report to the Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team, September 1996 (Martindale, J.D., 1996) [Report].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Habitat Shifting and Alteration:Habitat loss, modification and/or degradation Border Ranges Rainforest Biodiversity Management Plan - NSW & Queensland (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010n) [State Recovery Plan].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations Coxen's Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team, 2001) [Recovery Plan].
Border Ranges Rainforest Biodiversity Management Plan - NSW & Queensland (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010n) [State Recovery Plan].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human induced disturbance due to unspecified activities Border Ranges Rainforest Biodiversity Management Plan - NSW & Queensland (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010n) [State Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Dolichandra unguis-cati (Cat's Claw Vine, Yellow Trumpet Vine, Cat's Claw Creeper, Funnel Creeper) Coxen's Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team, 2001) [Recovery Plan].
Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation by weeds Coxen's Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team, 2001) [Recovery Plan].
Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Presence of pathogens and resulting disease Coxen's Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team, 2001) [Recovery Plan].
Border Ranges Rainforest Biodiversity Management Plan - NSW & Queensland (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2010n) [State Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Competition and/or predation by birds Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Predation by reptiles Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Psittacine Circoviral Disease Commonwealth Listing Advice on Psittacine Circoviral (beak and feather ) Disease affecting endangered psittacine species (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001v) [Listing Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate prescribed regimes and/or vegetation management to control fire regimes Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:Habitat loss, modification and fragmentation due to urban development A review of literature and the results of a search for Coxen's Fig-Parrot in south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales during 1985. RAOU Report Series. 21. (Martindale, J.D., 1986) [Journal].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Coxen's Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni Recovery Plan 2001-2005 (Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team, 2001) [Recovery Plan].
Species threats data recorded on the SPRAT database between 1999-2002 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012i) [Database].

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Forshaw, J.M. & K.A. Muller (1978). Annotated list of birds observed at Iron Range, Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, during October, 1974. Australian Bird Watcher. 7:171-194.

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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.

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Gynther, I. (1996a). A survey for nest sites of the Coxen's Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni. Stage 1, Queensland and New South Wales, 1996.

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Gynther, I. (1997a). A survey for nest sites of the Coxen's Fig-Parrot during the 1997 breeding season. Stage 1, Queensland and NSW.

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Gynther, I. & P. O'Reilly (1997). Surveys for nest sites of the Coxen?s Fig-Parrot in Queensland during the 1997 non-breeding season.

Gynther, I. & P. O'Reilly (1998). Surveys for Coxen's Fig-Parrot in Queensland - 1998 Summary Report. Unpublished report to Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team.

Gynther, I., J. Martindale & P. O'Reilly (1998). Final Report on the Coxen's Fig-Parrot Survey. Project Number 585. Unpublished report to Threatened Species and Communities Section, Environment Australia, Canberra (August 1998.

Gynther, I.C. (2006). Final Report - Natural Heritage Trust 2 - Implementation Projects: Implementing Priority Actions for the Recovery and Management of Nationally Threatened Species and Ecological Communities - Queensland. Project 3. Restoration of Degraded Habitats to Support Recovery of Coxen's Fig-Parrot. Unpublished report to the Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra.

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Holmes, G. (1994a). Survey of the Coxen's Fig-Parrot. Project 312. Unpublished report to the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage and the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Canberra (August 1994 ).

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Martindale, J.D. (1996). Report on Coxen's Fig Parrot Search, Stage 2, 16-20 September 1996. An unpublished report to the Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team, September 1996. Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Thu, 31 Jul 2014 00:20:02 +1000.