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

7. Existing Conservation Measures


7.1 Recovery history

7.1.1 Assessment and research

  • 1985/86. RAOU, ANCA and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary review of records and field survey of NSW/Qld border area (Martindale 1986).
  • 1987-present. Implementation of trial captive breeding program by Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary using red-browed fig-parrots as analogues. Research ongoing. Over seven years to 1999, 37 progeny raised (S. Goldie pers. comm.).
  • 1987-1989. Survey in Qld and NSW and preparation of a summary of known biology and ecology (Holmes 1990) (Sponsored by NSW NPWS and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary).
  • 1992. Subspecies Recovery Outline produced as part of The Action Plan for Australian Birds (Garnett 1992).
  • 1993. Preparation of the first recovery plan by the Qld Dept of Environment and Heritage under ANCA's Endangered Species Program (Davidson 1993).
  • 1993. Formation of the Coxen's Fig-Parrot Recovery Team and implementation of recovery plan. The team included staff from NSW NPWS, SF NSW, O'Reilly's Rainforest Guesthouse (Qld), the then Dept of Environment and Heritage (Qld), Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (Qld), Queensland Museum and Environment Australia.
  • 1993-1995. Additional cross-border field survey of potential fig-parrot habitat under a research grant agreement administered by the Qld Dept of Environment and Heritage. No records of Coxen's fig-parrot were obtained during the survey period; however, information on a number of plausible past and concurrent reports was gathered (Holmes 1994a, 1995). The primary approach adopted during these and earlier surveys was to scan fruiting fig trees in the hope of locating fig-parrots feeding among the branches or flying to and from the tree.
  • 1994. Completion of a ten-month study of the seasonal patterns of fruiting by figs in lowland and upland rainforest in an area of south-east Qld by a Griffith University postgraduate student (Storey 1994).
  • 1996. Habitat mapping of canopy height fig trees around the seven most recent, plausible records in NSW (Horton 1996).
  • 1996. Examination of grey goshawk prey remains in areas of potential Coxen's fig-parrot habitat. No Coxen's fig-parrot remains were identified (D. Charley pers. comm.).
  • 1996. Design of a 'Coxen's fig-parrot Sighting Report Form' (Appendix 3).
  • 1996. Identification of potential lowland habitats of Coxen's fig-parrot by a Southern Cross University student. The aim of this project was to map the distribution of large fig trees in the Lismore area through interpretation of aerial photos and ground-truthing (Jago 1997).
  • August 1996. Two week confidential nest site search and training exercise undertaken (Gynther 1996a). Evidence of current and past nesting activity was located at seven sites (four in Qld, three in NSW), although no birds were observed.
  • Sept.-Nov. 1996. Follow up nest searches conducted (Gynther 1996b). Additional evidence of past nesting activity in the form of old nest holes was discovered at one Qld locality (Lamington National Park).
  • 1996/1997. Caged red-browed fig-parrots used as potential decoys at a fixed site at O'Reilly's Rainforest Guesthouse during summer. The birds were housed on the rainforest floor beneath fruiting fig trees but no Coxen's fig-parrots were located (P. O'Reilly pers. comm.).
  • 1996, 1997. Caged red-browed fig-parrots hoisted into canopy of fruiting figs as potential Coxen's fig-parrot decoys at one site in NSW (Cambridge Plateau). Monitoring of the caged birds yielded no sightings (Martindale 1996).
  • 1997. Draft guidelines formulated for establishment and operation of a Coxen's fig-parrot Records Appraisal Committee to appraise incidental sightings.
  • June-Aug. 1997. Surveys for past nest sites conducted in Qld during the non-breeding season. High quality habitat identified in the greater Bundaberg area (Gynther et al. 1998).
  • Aug.-Sept. 1997. Two week confidential nest site search and nest search training exercise. Two birds flew overhead at a site in Main Range National Park and a new nesting locality was discovered in NSW (Toonumbar National Park). Birds were not located at an active nest (Gynther et al. 1998).
  • Sept.-Dec. 1997. Follow up survey work in Qld and NSW. No birds or additional evidence of nesting activity were discovered (Gynther et al. 1998).
  • November 1997. Community survey of fruiting fig trees in Cambridge Plateau and Mebbin State Forest conducted. Birds were not sighted (Gynther et al. 1998).
  • 1997-1998. Detailed mapping by Terrafocus of fig trees on farmlands in the Byron Shire, NSW to determine strategic habitat corridor locations for a tree planting project.
  • Jan.-Feb. 1998. Caged decoy birds reinstalled at a fixed site on the Sarabah Range, Qld by Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and O'Reilly's Rainforest Guesthouse. No Coxen's fig-parrots were observed (P. O'Reilly pers. comm.).
  • March 1998. Community survey of fruiting fig trees conducted in the Bundaberg area, Qld. Coxen's fig-parrot was not actually located during the survey but 14 previously undocumented and credible anecdotal sightings were obtained as a result of the associated media attention. An aerial survey of adjacent habitat was also conducted (Gynther et al. 1998).
  • Sept.-Dec. 1998. Surveys conducted across 14 localities in south-east Qld. Birds were not sighted, however a past nest hole (approximately 2 years old) was discovered in Conondale National Park, a previously undocumented breeding locality (Gynther and O'Reilly 1998).
  • Oct. 1999-June 2000. Detailed mapping of fig trees on farmlands in Lismore and Kyogle LGAs undertaken. Proposed to be extended in 2000-2001 to include Ballina, Richmond Valley and Tenterfield LGAs.
  • 2000. Revised subspecies Recovery Outline produced as part of The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000 (Garnett and Crowley 2000).
  • 2001. Southern Cross University provided with funds by NSW NPWS to commence a genetic investigation of the subspecies of double-eyed fig-parrot.

7.1.2 Habitat rehabilitation

  • Sept. 1999 and ongoing. Implementation of community fig tree planting program by NSW NPWS, Big Scrub Rainforest Landcare Group and Byron Shire Council in the Byron, Ballina, Casino, Richmond River, Lismore and Kyogle LGAs. Funding supplied jointly by NSW NPWS and Threatened Species Network Community Grants (supported by the Endangered Species Program of the Natural Heritage Trust) with trees being grown by SF NSW and Environmental Training and Employment (Northern Rivers) Inc.
  • 1999. The Bundaberg Branch of the Bird Observers Club of Australia successfully obtained a grant of $5,000 from the Threatened Species Network Community Grants Scheme for a fig tree planting project on Burnett Shire Council land at Moore Park, Qld.
  • 2001. Natural Heritage Trust funding secured for 'Trees on Farms' project (Mr Terry Moodie) to undertake further fig tree planting in northeast NSW.
  • 2001. Community group 'Save Today Our Parkland' awarded a $20,000 grant from the Threatened Species Network Community Grants Scheme for a habitat rehabilitation and revegetation program focusing on remnant gallery rainforest at sites along Kin Kin and Upper Pinbarren Creeks in the Noosa hinterland of southeast Qld.

7.1.3 Public education and information

  • Articles published in ornithological and natural history magazines (Holmes 1987a,b, 1994b, Anon. 1990, Romer and Gynther 1997, Gynther 1999, Romer 1999).
  • Exposure to the international avicultural community through liaison with and funding by The World Parrot Trust.
  • Joint production and distribution in 1993 of 10,000 colour brochures by Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and the Qld Dept of Environment and Heritage to highlight the parrot's decline and outline the recovery process.
  • Media coverage via Qld and NSW statewide radio, television and newspaper articles and community-based newsletters.
  • Presentations to ornithological, natural history, avicultural and Landcare groups.
  • The Coxen's fig-parrot recovery program was the beneficiary of the Queensland Ornithological Society Inc.'s 1996 Twitchathon appeal.
  • Wildlife documentaries on national and local television sponsored by Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • June 1998. Inclusion of Coxen's fig-parrot in an endangered species display at the Queensland Museum.
  • 1998. Production of Coxen's fig-parrot T-shirt and sloppy joes for awareness and fund-raising.
  • 1998. Design, production and distribution of an updated colour brochure by the recovery team and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • 1998. Joint production of a 'fridge flyer' in the Bundaberg area by the Parrot Society of Australia, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and the Bundaberg Branch of the Bird Observers Club of Australia (Gynther et al. 1998).
  • Aug. 1998. Delivery of a paper describing the recovery program at the South-East Queensland Rainforest Recovery Conference, Tannum Sands, Qld (O'Reilly 1999).
  • Feb. 1999. Presentation on the recovery program at a joint Coxen's fig-parrot/Richmond birdwing butterfly seminar to local government environment officers from across southeast Qld and northeast NSW. The event was hosted by Gold Coast City Council.
  • 1999. Production of 5000 colour posters by the Lismore District of NSW NPWS for general distribution in both states. The poster was reprinted in 2001.