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
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 Recovery Plan for the Golden-shouldered Parrot Psephotus chrysopterygius 2003-2007 (Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley, 2002) [Recovery Plan].
Other EPBC Act Plans Threat abatement advice for predation, habitat degradation,competition and disease transmission by feral pigs (2013) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2014p) [Threat Abatement Plan].
Threat Abatement Plan for Beak and Feather Disease Affecting Endangered Psittacine Species (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2005q) [Threat Abatement Plan].
Threat Abatement Plan for Reduction in Impacts of Tramp Ants on Biodiversity in Australia and its Territories (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006p) [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
    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].
List of Migratory Species (13/07/2000) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000b) [Legislative Instrument].
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].
State Government
    Documents and Websites
QLD:Management guidelines for golden-shouldered parrot conservation (Crowley G., S. Garnett & S. Shephard, 2003) [Management Plan].
QLD:Golden-shouldered parrot (Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP), 2013z) [Database].
State Listing Status
QLD: Listed as Endangered (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): May 2014 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Endangered (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
NGO: Listed as Endangered (The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2010)
Scientific name Psephotus chrysopterygius [720]
Family Psittacidae:Psittaciformes:Aves:Chordata:Animalia
Species author Gould, 1858
Infraspecies author  
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: Psephotus chrysopterygius

Common name: Golden-shouldered Parrot

Other common names: Antbed Parrot, Anthill Parrot, Chestnut-crowned Parrot, Golden-winged Parrot, Chestnut-crowned Parakeet and Golden-winged Parakeet (Higgins 1999).

The taxonomy of the Golden-shouldered Parrot is widely accepted (Christidis & Boles 1994; Higgins 1999; Peters 1988; Sibley & Monroe 1990). Formerly, the species had occassionally been considered conspecific with the Hooded Parrot (Psephotus dissimilis) (Forshaw 1981b; Slater 1970).

The Golden-shouldered Parrot is 23–28 cm long and weighs 28–54 g when fully grown. Adult males are turquoise with a black cap, yellow forehead, grey-brown 'saddle' over the back upperwing, yellow shoulder-patch, black primaries, salmon-pink belly and vent, blue-black and olive-green uppertail, and mostly light blue undertail. Adult females are duller and differ from adult males by their olive cap, pale yellow forehead, greenish-yellow head and breast, yellow-green 'saddle', and yellow-green to off-white underbody with dull-orange mottling (Higgins 1999).

The Golden-shouldered Parrot occurs at two locations on the central Cape York Peninsula, Queensland:

  • on the headwaters of the Morehead River catchment and adjacent westward flowing streams (Crowley et al. 2004; Garnett & Crowley 2002)
  • on the upper tributaries of the Staaten River, mostly in Staaten River National Park (Crowley et al. 2004; Garnett & Crowley 2002).

There are historical records of the Golden-shouldered Parrot from Weipa and the upper reaches of the Olive River south to Blackbull, Bulleringa and Byerstown (Garnett 1998; Garnett & Crowley 1999; Weaver 1982; White 1922a, 1922e). Breeding was confirmed in the Coen-Port Stewart region, however, records from this area became scarce in the 1920s (Garnett & Crowley 1999, 2000, 2002).

The extent of occurrence of the Golden-shouldered Parrot is estimated, with medium reliability, to be 3000 km² (Crowley et al. 2004; Preece et al. 2009). Observations by local observers suggest that it probably not changed since 2002 (Preece et al. 2009). In the early 2000s, area of occurrence was considered stable (Crowley et al. 2004; Garnett & Crowley 2002). The extent of occurrence has declined substantially since the species was first recorded in 1855. Occurrence estimates of 1100 km², in the 1970s, and 400 km², in the mid 1990s, are significantly lower than the range of occurence exhibited by early collections. The current extent of occurrence of this species reflects disappearences from (Garnett & Crowley 1999):

  • Artemis Station, Violet Vale, Mary Valley, Kalinga and Koolburra Stations, in the north
  • Marina Plains, Lakefield and Kalpowar Stations, in the east
  • Weipa, Pormpuraaw Plains, Rutland Plains, Strathgordon Station and Strathmay Station, in the west.

The area of occupancy of the Golden-shouldered Parrot is estimated, with medium reliability, to be 1740 km². This estimate has remained stable since 1999 and further data is required to establish trends (Crowley et al. 2004; Garnett & Crowley 2002).

In their 2009 survey of the Morehead River population, Preece and colleagues (2009) re-visited data and assumptions associated with earlier estimates of area of occupancy, concluding that the current area of occupancy for the Morehead River population is 1340 km². Area of occupancy was first estimated in 1999, and in 2002 was extended to include known nesting populations along Alice River. A contraction in range is believed to have occured after 1998 on the north-east limits of distribution on Artemis Station.

The western and southern limits of the Staaten River population were estimated with a high degree of uncertainty until 2004, when the southern and western limits were surveyed (Preece et al. 2009). It is currently understood to be 1000 km² (Preece et al. 2009). Historic area of occurrence is likely to have been much greater than current levels; a gradual decline was observed in the 1990s with the area of occupancy estimated to have decreased from 1780 km² in 1992–1998 to 1740 km² in 1999–2002 (Crowley et al. 2004; Garnett & Crowley 2002).

A small Golden-shouldered Parrot breeding population is held in Adelaide Zoo (ISIS 2007). A captive breeding program to supply birds for reintroduction was planned in a recovery plan for this species (Garnett & Crowley 2002).

The Golden-shouldered Parrot has been moderately well surveyed. The population in the Morehead River catchment is well known, and about 45% of the total area of this population has been surveyed in detail, which allows for good population estimates. A re-survey of the Morehead River population in the 2009 breeding season was undertaken as part of the Caring for our Country program (Preece et al. 2009). Surveys were conducted on five of the Morehead River area properties known to hold breeding populations of the Parrot, including Artemis, Mary Valley, Killarney, Dixie and Kalinga (Preece et al. 2009). Surveys have been conducted every year in the vicinity of Artemis and Dixie since 2001 (Preece et al. 2009).

The population on Staaten River has been less well studied. Surveys in 1997 and 2002 determined the northern and eastern limits of the population, but the western and southern limits are currently unknown, and population estimates are based only on the results of some short surveys (Garnett & Crowley 2002).

The total breeding population in 2002 was estimated to be approximately 2300 individuals in two populations of approximately equal size (Garnett & Crowley 2002). In the non-breeding season, assuming an average productivity of 1.2 fledglings/nest attempt, the population was thought to swell to about 3600 (Garnett & Crowley 2002). A review of the 2002 data by Preece and colleagues (2009) suggest that population in 2002 was likely to have been made up of:

  • 1514 breeding birds in the Morehead River population
  • 1000 breeding birds in the Staaten River population.

The total population size of the Golden-shouldered Parrot has decreased since first recorded and has not been recorded at many former sites (Garnett & Crowley 1999, 2002). However, few details are available on the numbers of birds that previously attended abandoned sites. Abundant populations previously occurred in the Coen-Port Stewart region and at Violet Vale Station (Garnett & Crowley 1999; White 1922a, 1922e).

While comparisons between survey results from different years carries some uncertainties with it, Preece and colleagues (2009) cautiously conclude that the Morehead River population has probably stayed stable (at around 1500 breeding birds) between 1996–2009. Part of the surveyed area showed signs of deterioration in condition between 2002 and 2009, which may prove detrimental to the Morehead River population in the future (Preece et al. 2009).

The Staaten River population has not been surveyed since 2002 (Preece et al. 2009) and so no conclusions about trends in population since 2002 can be made.

The Golden-shouldered Parrot is not known to cross-breed with any other species.

Most individuals in the Staaten River population occur within Staaten River National Park (Garnett & Crowley 2002).

Golden-shouldered Parrots inhabit open, wet or dry tropical savanna woodlands with an upper stratum dominated by Melaleuca spp. or Eucalyptus spp. and a lower stratum dominated by Schizachyrium spp., Thaumastachloa spp., Plume Sorghum (Sorghum plumosum) and Eriachne burkitti (Higgins 1999). One record occurred in mangroves, in 1913 (MacGillivray 1918).

During the dry season this species inhabits woodland dominated by Darwin Stringybark (Eucalyptus tetrodonta), Cullen's Ironbark (E. cullenii), E. clarksoniana, E. hylandii, Ghost Gum (E. papuana), Ironwood (Erythrophleum chlorostachys) and Bushman's Clothes-peg (Grevillea glauca), with an understorey of annual grasses Fire-grass (Schizachyrium fragile) and S. pachyarthron (Higgins 1999).

After the first rains of the wet season, this species moves into low open woodlands dominated by Broad-leafed Tea-tree (Melaleuca viridiflora), Petalostigma banksii and Grevillea spp., and an understorey of fire grass Schizachyrium spp., Planichloa nervilemma and Hyptis (Hyptis suaveolens) (Higgins 1999).

This species nests in tunnels excavated in termite mounds, mostly in conical mounds of Amitermes scopulus (96.7% of 148 nests) that occur in the ecotone of grassy flats of impeded drainage lines and interfluvial sand ridges, or on the metamorphic boundary of sandstone and granite in low hills. They are also known to nest in the meridian, or magnetic, mounds of Amitermes laurensis (2.8% of 148 nests) on grassy flats, or in the turret-shaped mounds of Nasutitermes triodiae (0.5% of 148 nests) on sandy ridges. It is thought that the choice of mound is related to the activity cycle of the termites (Higgins 1999).

Golden-shouldered Parrots roost in flocks, or pairs, in the outer foliage of broad-leaved trees, such as Carbeen Gum (Eucalyptus confertiflora) and Broad-leafed Tea-tree. During the middle of day, they roost below the canopy in shady trees along watercourses or in patches of dry rainforest, with as many as 30 birds in any one tree. Groups usually congregate at the same place each day (Higgins 1999).

The species tends to favour habitats that have recently been burnt, since such habitats are less prone to predators and seed is exposed and easier to find. Fire may also be needed to maintain habitat structure. However, they also need to visit water daily, so will abandon areas that do not have a freestanding water source within 2 km of a feeding site. Water is not likely to be a limiting resource in the current range as floods are annual events within their habitat. The species can readily persist on higher ground (Garnett & Crowley 2002).

Both sexes of the Golden-shouldered Parrot are capable of breeding in their first year, although most males do not begin breeding until their second year (Higgins 1999). This species generation length is unknown, but the generation length of the closely related Hooded Parrot (Psephotus dissimilis) is about two years (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

The following table presents the timing of breeding in the Golden-shouldered Parrot (135 nests over 3 years) (Higgins 1999):

Breeding stage Timing
Breeding March-August
Peak breeding Early April
Fledglings June-August

In one breeding success study, 148 clutches were observed, and (Higgins 1999):

  • 695 eggs were laid
  • 475 (68%) eggs hatched
  • all eggs hatched in 65 clutches
  • all eggs failed in 41 clutches
  • all eggs hatched and all chicks fledged in 32 nests
  • of 462 chicks from successful clutches: 311 (67%) chicks fledged.

Reptiles are thought to be the main predators of eggs and chicks and the main cause of nesting failure. Other nest predators include birds, especially the Pied Butcherbird (Cracticus nigrogularis), and ants (Iridomyrmex). A small number are trapped by pupating moths (Trisyntopa scatophaga). Fledglings have been killed by Green Tree-ants (Oecophila smagodina) and the Blue-winged Kookaburra (Dacelo leachii) (Higgins 1999). The average productivity is assumed to be 1.2 fledglings per nesting attempt (Garnett & Crowley 1999).

The Golden-shouldered Parrot is mostly granivorous (seed-eating), taking seeds of annual grasses. They also take leaves, flowers and, rarely, insects. In the dry season, they primarily take fallen seed from the ground, and in the wet season they also feed in trees. This species usually feeds in pairs, or small flocks, and prefers to feed in recently burnt grassland.

On the ground they mostly walk, frequently pecking at the ground. They also grasp and pull down tall grasses, holding grass in their feet while feeding, or perch on branches of low shrubs to take seed from grasses and herbs. In trees, they chew on new growth or pluck flowers and chew briefly on bases before dropping them. Sometimes bark is chewed, particularly while breeding. They drink from pools and farm dams, from hollows in trees, and from foliage of trees wet with rain or dew, especially bases of leaves of Pandanus (Higgins 1999).

Dry season
In the dry season, the Golden-shouldered Parrot mainly picks fallen seed from the floor of Eucalyptus woodland. In one study the main food observed is seed of Fire-grass (Poaceae), Schizachyrium pachyarthron and S. pseudoeulalia, comprising 58.5% of items. Other seeds included Aneilema siliculosum (Commelinaceae) 3.1%, Scleria novaehollandiae or S. rugosa (Cyperaceae) 5.2%, Planichloa nervilemma (Poaceae) 12.9%, Ischaemum fragile 3.4%, Mnesithea formosa 3.0%, Thaumastachloa monilifera 3.0%, and Hyptis (Lamiaceae) 12.1% (Higgins 1999).

Wet season
During the wet season, the Golden-shouldered Parrot mainly feeds in the understorey of Melaleuca spp. and Fern-leafed Grevillea woodland, particularly on and along edges of drainage flats, taking seed directly from stems. Foraging also consists of non-seed vegetative material. In one study, birds feeding on the ground ate mostly Schizachyrium spp. (15.4% of items). Other seeds consumed include: Cockatoo Grass (Poaceae) 8.0%, Summer Grass (Digitaria ciliaris) 11.3%, D. leucostachya 3.1%, Awnless Barnyard-grass (Echinochloa colona) 6.0%, Scrobic (Paspalum scrobiculatum) 4.1%, Thaumastachloa monilifera 4.5%, Green Summer-grass (Urochloa subquadripara) 4.7%, Haemadorum brevicaule (Haemadoraceae) 3.3%, Phyllanthus hebecarpa (Euphorbiaceae) 8.2%, and Desmodium spp. (Fabacaeae) 7.6% (Higgins 1999).

In the wet season birds also fed in trees, taking: Ironwood shoots (Saesalpiniaceae), Dendrolobium spp. flowers (Fabaceae), Broad-leaved Carbeen shoots, Melaleuca foliolosa shoots, Broad-leaved Tea-tree shoots and flowers (Myrtaceae), Thryptomene spp. shoots, Red-fruited Kurrajong (Sterculia quadrifida) flowers (Sterculiaceae), and a diverse array of other items (Higgins 1999). Birds were also observed eating pieces of rain-softened termite mound (Higgins 1999) and fragments of rough bark from bloodwood (Eucalyptus spp.) (Higgins 1999). The crops (upper digestive tract) of chicks contained mostly grass seed, particularly Schizachyrium spp., but always included seeds of legumes, mainly Desmodium spp. (Higgins 1999).

The Golden-shouldered Parrot usually occurs in pairs or family groups. It sometimes congregates in flocks at sources of food or water (Forshaw 1981b). In the dry season, independent juveniles wander in flocks of 15–30 birds and occasionally in flocks of up to 110 birds (Garnett & Bredl 1985; Higgins 1999).

The Golden-shouldered Parrot is considered to be sedentary, with no large-scale seasonal movements reported, and no evidence for claims of long-distance post-breeding movement away from nesting areas (e.g.towards the coast or through open woodland patches). All recovered banded birds (144) have been found within 10 km of the banding site (Higgins 1999). Individuals do however, make short-distance movements into different habitats in the wet and dry seasons. During the wet season (non-breeding) the Golden-sholdered Parrot is often found in association with Black-faced Woodswallows (Artamus cinereus normani) (Higgins 1999).

Timing of movements
The species breeds from the late wet season through to the middle of the dry season (March–August). They usually form pairs, although territories sometimes have a male auxilliary. There are few, or no, unpaired females, and most unmated males are associated with breeding pairs, although some follow flocks of Black-faced Woodswallows. After fledging (May through to early August), most juveniles stay within 2–3 km of nests for around two months. They then disperse, some up to at least 12 km, and form dry season flocks with any unmated immature males. These dry season flocks remain sedentary within 1 km of water till the end of the dry season (October–November). There may be some exchange of individuals between dry season flocks. Watering sites may be used inter-annually, but duration of stay at any site depends on availability of water and, possibly, fire history of surrounding area with birds preferring to forage on burnt ground. Adults appear to stay near nesting sites, occasionally feeding at edges of dry season flocks (Higgins 1999).

With the first rains of the wet season, juveniles, immature and second-year males from dry season flocks move to sites where Black-faced Woodswallows breed (and are thus confined to small home ranges) and where wet season food is abundant. At this time, adults are first to return to near breeding sites and initiate courtship displays but, as the rains continue and food is depleted, they too move into Woodswallow breeding areas. They may move relatively widely searching for food during this period, with several pairs seen up to 7 km from where they later nested. The Golden-shouldered Parrots stay and feed alongside the woodswallows, until the woodswallows finish breeding and disperse (mid wet season, January–February). The parrots also disperse during this period, by which time no female parrot is without a mate, and most second year males have obtained a mate. Some pairs appear to move back to nesting sites, where food is again available, while others, perhaps newly formed pairs without attachment to a nesting site, move much farther (Higgins 1999).

Until as late as May, some immature males follow Black-faced Woodswallows, feeding for short periods, then following the woodswallow flock as it moves. Other immature males attach themselves to adult pairs as auxilliaries. Movements at this time relate to spatial and temporal patchiness of food, with some young birds moving at least 30 km to forage (Higgins 1999).

Some birds, particularly females, breed close to their natal nesting site, while others have been found nesting at least 12 km away (Higgins 1999).

Nest spacing
Nests can be as close as 100 m apart, but are never in sight of each other and are mostly dispersed. At Artemis and Dixie Stations, 67 active nests were found in a 120 km² area in one breeding season. The Golden-shouldered Parrot defend their nesting sites (termite mounds) against other pairs, although breeding adults sometimes feed together (Higgins 1999). One adult male was seen chasing off an immature male (Higgins 1999).

The decline of the Golden-shouldered Parrot has been attributed to predation, disease, illegal collection for aviculture and inappropriate fire regimes and associated habitat change.

A change in the natural fire regime, with intentionally hot burns avoided by the managers of pastoral properties, limit the production of seeds by wet season grasses and, thus, reduce fuel loads (Crowley & Garnett 2000; Garnett & Crowley 2000, 2002). These conditions have allowed woody plants, and especially Broad-leafed Tea-tree, to invade the grasslands occupied by the Golden-shouldered Parrot (Crowley & Garnett 1998; Neldner et al. 1997; Stanton 1992). These processes have reduced vegetative cover and rendered the parrot more vulnerable to predation, especially when foraging on the ground and nesting.

Additionally, the change in fire regime has altered the Golden-shouldered Parrots habitat. The change in fire regime has resulted in the development of a coarser mosaic of burning histories, which is believed to reduce the likelihood of dispersing parrots finding suitable habitat in the wet season (Garnett & Crowley 2002).

The disappearance of the Golden-shouldered Parrot from Lakefield National Park in the 1970s–1980s has been attributed to conversion of grassy woodland to woodland assoociated with changed fire regimes (Garnett & Crowley 1999). A similar loss of habitat has also occurred in Mungkan Kandju National Park (Neldner et al. 1997), where the species was last recorded in the 1920s (Garnett & Crowley 2002).

The Pied Butcherbird utilises woody plants as cover to ambush its prey and is thought to be the most significant predator (Garnett & Crowley 2000). Reptiles also prey heavily upon eggs and chicks of the Golden-shouldered Parrot (Higgins 1999).

The Golden-shouldered Parrot derives some protection from predators in the early wet season through its tendency to forage near nesting Black-faced Woodswallows, whose vigilant behaviour can warn the parrot of approaching danger. However, the protection provided by this association may be diminishing as woodswallow populations on Cape York Peninsula are also in decline (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

Feral Cats (Felis catus) were suspected to be a source of predation (Garnett 1993), but are no longer considered to be significant threats to the species (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

Beak and Feather Disease is an infectious and potentially fatal disease of the Golden-shouldered Parrot. Symptoms of the disease have been observed in the Golden-shouldered Parrot in captivity (DEH 2005q), but it is not known what impact, if any, the disease has had or is having on the wild population.

Large numbers of Golden-shouldered Parrots were illegally taken for aviculture in the 1950s and 1960s (Garnett 1993; Weaver 1982), however illegal collection of the Golden-shouldered Parrot is no longer considered a threat to the species.

The following recovery actions have been implemented:

  • Surveying and monitoring is being undertaken (Garnett & Crowley 1999, 2002).
  • Two recovery plans have been published (Garnett & Crowley 1999, 2002).
  • A threat abatement plan for Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease has been published (DEH 2005q).
  • Research and analysis have been conducted on the feeding ecology, breeding ecology and threats to the species (Garnett & Crowley 2000).
  • Fire regimes have been analysed and favourable regimes implemented throughout the known range (Garnett & Crowley 2000).
  • Management guidelines for the Golden-shouldered Parrot have been integrated into property planning on the central Cape York Peninsula (Garnett & Crowley 2000).
  • Fencing has been erected to trial fire regimes on leasehold land (Garnett & Crowley 2000).
  • Causes of vegetation change on Cape York Peninsula have been determined (Garnett & Crowley 2000).
  • A landholder agreement to manage part of Artemis Station for the parrot has been implemented (Garnett & Crowley 1999).
  • Feeding stations have been constructed on Artemis Station and local parrot numbers have increased (Garnett & Crowley 1999, 2000).
  • Experimental attempts to reduce shrub density have been conducted (Garnett & Crowley 1999).
  • Community and landholder participation has been facilitated (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

The following recovery actions are recommended in the current recovery plan (Garnett & Crowley 2002):

  • Manage critical habitat by providing and implementing management guidelines.
  • Maintain bird numbers at the north-eastern limit of the distribution by providing feeding stations during the wet season.
  • Determine population trends by monitoring selected sites regularly.
  • Determine the impact of the Pied Butcherbird on breeding success by developing and implementing a research plan and implementing the management actions.
  • Research the relationship between vegetation structure and fecundity of the Black-faced Woodswallow, determining the management implications of the research for the Golden-shouldered Parrot and incorporating recommendations into management guidelines for the Golden-shouldered Parrot.
  • Assess and minimise the adverse impacts of cattle and Pigs (Sus scrofa) on Cockatoo Grass (Alloteropsis semialata) and termite mounds, developing and implementing management recommendations to reduce the impacts in parrot habitat (if deemed necessary), developing and implementing management strategies for the control of Pigs in parrot habitat (if deemed necessary) and advising national park managers on appropriate levels of pig control.
  • Increase the number of wild populations of the Golden-shouldered Parrot by:

    • restoring and maintaining grassland structure at a trial reintroduction site
    • establishing and maintaining nursery stocks of Cockatoo Grass for re-establishment at the trial reintroduction site
    • establishing and maintaining Cockatoo Grass at the reintroduction site
    • preparing a justification for reintroduction
    • consulting with aviculturists about aviary design and breeding stock
    • negotiating funds for construction of aviaries at appropriate sites
    • capturing an appropriate number of wild birds for captive breeding
    • initiating a captive breeding program.
  • Support the recovery process by managing it through a recovery team, consulting with interested parties and informing them of progress, encouraging non-government stakeholders to attend recovery meetings, conducting a major review of the recovery process and drafting a new plan when the current plan expires.

The Golden-shouldered Parrot has been studied in detail as part of the recovery effort (Crowley et al. 2004). Some results from these studies are published in Higgins (1999).

The key management document for the Golden-shouldered Parrot is the national Recovery Plan for the Golden-shouldered Parrot Psephotus chrysopterygius 2003–2007 (Garnett & Crowley 2002). This plan superseded an earlier recovery plan that guided the management of the species from 1999–2002 (Garnett & Crowley 1999). Other useful management documents include the:

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:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Habitat loss and modification due to clearance of native vegetation and pasture improvements The Impact of Global Warming on the Distribution of Threatened Vertebrates (ANZECC 1991) (Dexter, E.M., A.D. Chapman & J.R. Busby, 1995) [Report].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Sus scrofa (Pig) Recovery Plan for the Golden-shouldered Parrot Psephotus chrysopterygius 2003-2007 (Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley, 2002) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Bos taurus (Domestic Cattle) Recovery Plan for the Golden-shouldered Parrot (Psephotus chrysopterygius) 1999-2002 (Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley, 1999) [State Recovery Plan].
Recovery Plan for the Golden-shouldered Parrot Psephotus chrysopterygius 2003-2007 (Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley, 2002) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Predation, competition, habitat degradation and/or spread of pathogens by introduced species Recovery Plan for the Golden-shouldered Parrot (Psephotus chrysopterygius) 1999-2002 (Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley, 1999) [State Recovery Plan].
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 and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Recovery Plan for the Golden-shouldered Parrot Psephotus chrysopterygius 2003-2007 (Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley, 2002) [Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate prescribed regimes and/or vegetation management to control fire regimes Recovery Plan for the Golden-shouldered Parrot (Psephotus chrysopterygius) 1999-2002 (Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley, 1999) [State Recovery Plan].

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.

Crowley, G. & S.T. Garnett (2000). Changing fire management in the pastoral lands of Cape Yorke Peninsula of northeast Australia, 1623-1996. Australian Geographical Studies. 38:10 to 16.

Crowley, G.M. & S.T. Garnett (1998). Vegetation change in the grasslands and grassy woodlands of central Cape York Peninsula. Pacific Conservation Biology. 4:132-148.

Crowley, G.M., S.T. Garnett & S. Shephard (2004). Management Guidelines for Golden-shouldered Parrot Conservation. Brisbane: Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) (2005q). Threat Abatement Plan for Beak and Feather Disease Affecting Endangered Psittacine Species. [Online]. Available from:

Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) (2006p). Threat Abatement Plan for Reduction in Impacts of Tramp Ants on Biodiversity in Australia and its Territories. [Online]. Available from:

Forshaw, J.M. (1981b). Australian Parrots. Melbourne: Lansdowne Editions.

Garnett, S., ed. (1993). Threatened and Extinct Birds of Australia. RAOU Report 82. Melbourne: Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union, and Canberra: Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Garnett, S.T. (1998). Clarification of the type locality of the Golden-shouldered Parrot. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists Club. 118:196-200.

Garnett, S.T. (2007a). Personal communication. July 2007.

Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley (1999). Recovery Plan for the Golden-shouldered Parrot (Psephotus chrysopterygius) 1999-2002. Brisbane: Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley (2000). The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000. [Online]. Canberra, ACT: Environment Australia and Birds Australia. Available from:

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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). Psephotus chrysopterygius in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Wed, 24 Sep 2014 14:35:58 +1000.