Coxen's Fig-parrot Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni Recovery Plan 2001-2005

Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team
© The State of Queensland, Environmental Protection Agency, 2001

1. Current Conservation Status

Coxen's fig-parrot Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni Gould of the family Psittacidae is currently known only from a relatively small number of records - around 30 sightings since 1970 in north-east New South Wales and twice as many since 1990 in south-east Queensland. Thus, a confident estimation of the number and size of the existing populations is not possible. Historical records indicate that the subspecies once inhabited lowland rainforest from the Mary River in Queensland to the lower Richmond River and possibly the Macleay River in New South Wales. Predictions by computer models and recent, credible, but largely unconfirmed sightings suggest its range may extend further north and south than was previously thought. Although probably never common historically, the population appears to have declined to critical levels due to widespread loss of habitat around the turn of the twentieth century. Remaining habitat is fragmented. Surveys conducted in 1985, 1987-1989, and 1996-7 located only a few individuals and found limited evidence of the bird's presence. Surveys by Holmes from 1993-1995 found no birds at all (Holmes 1995). Sporadic incidental sightings by members of the public continue to be reported across the bird's distribution suggesting the population is persisting, even if in very low numbers.

Coxen's fig-parrot is listed as endangered under the New South Wales Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, the Queensland Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation 1994, and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 because it is likely to become extinct unless threatening processes are removed. The subspecies meets the criteria for critically endangered status under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN SSC 1994) categories of threat (Category C2a). Coxen's fig-parrot is also listed as critically endangered by ANZECC (1995) and Garnett and Crowley (2000).