CR
Night Parrot Pezoporus occidentalis



Taxonomy

Taxonomic source(s)
Christidis, L. and Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red List criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
C2a(i); D C2a(i); D C2a(i); D1

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2022 Critically Endangered C2a(i)
2019 Endangered D
2018 Endangered B2ab(iii)c(ii,iii,iv); D
2016 Endangered B2ab(iii)c(ii,iii,iv); D
2013 Endangered B2ab(iii)c(ii,iii,iv);D
2012 Endangered B2ab(iii)c(ii,iii,iv);D
2009 Critically Endangered D1
2008 Critically Endangered
2007 Critically Endangered
2004 Critically Endangered
2000 Critically Endangered
1996 Critically Endangered
1994 Critically Endangered
1988 Threatened
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency does not normally occur in forest
Land-mass type Australia
Average mass -
Range

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence (breeding/resident) 1,100,000 km2 medium
Number of locations 7-20,10 -
Severely fragmented? yes -
Population
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Population size 40-500, 200 mature individuals poor estimated 2020
Population trend decreasing - inferred -
Generation length 4.66 years - - -
Number of subpopulations 7-15,10 - - -
Percentage of mature individuals in largest subpopulation 1-89% - - -

Population justification: Targeted acoustic surveys across the country since 2013 have detected no more than 30 individual Night Parrots, although comprehensively surveying the large areas of potential habitat where the bird might occur is difficult. Research suggests that wherever the species is found, more individuals occur than are detected, but not many more. The failure to find many additional sites, despite searching, suggests that it is prudent to assume there may be no more. Expert consultation regarding densities known at available habitat indicates a population estimate of 40-500 individuals with a best estimate of 200 (Leseberg et al. 2021b). In any given subpopulation, there is thought not to be any more than 30 individuals (and more likely 20) (Leseberg et al. 2021b).

Trend justification:

The species continues to persist at two of the sites found since 2013 where multiple follow up surveys have occurred (N. P. Leseberg and A. H. Burbidge unpublished, in Leseberg et al. 2021b) but longer term analyses of trends in sightings suggest that there has been a gradual attrition of surviving subpopulations so a continuing decline is assumed. Since 1960, there have been continuing probable records from the northern part of the species’ historical range, but no records from northwest Victoria, and only two records from southern South Australia, suggesting a contraction from the southeast (Leseberg et al. 2021a). There are also no probable records from the southern Northern Territory since 1960. Since 2000, there have been probable records from only two regions of the Night Parrot’s historical distribution: western Queensland, and central northern Western Australia. The lack of probable records from the south east of the species’ historical range suggest the Night Parrot is locally extinct in southern South Australia and north west Victoria. Likewise, the absence of probable records from the southern Northern Territory since before 1960 suggest local extinction. Importantly, increased rates of both unconfirmed reports and probable records from elsewhere as the range contraction progresses, point to the range contraction being genuine rather than an artefact of survey effort. The results of this research and widespread searches for the species in western Queensland (N. Leseberg unpublished, in Leseberg et al. 2021b), and emerging data from searches in central and northern Western Australia, point to the species occurring in very low numbers, at extremely low densities, and in isolated, resident populations. The probable extreme fragmentation of the population poses a significant extinction risk. Furthemore, expert opinion concludes that if no management occurs, populations at specific sites will continue to decline over the longer term (N. Leseberg in litt. 2021). Currently, only the population on Pullen Pullen SWR in western Queensland is under specific management, which represents a small percentage of the total population and therefore suggests an overall continuing decline for the species.


Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding visitor Non-breeding visitor Passage migrant
Australia extant native yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Australia Diamantina and Astrebla Grasslands
Australia Fortescue Marshes

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Dry major resident
Shrubland Subtropical/Tropical Dry major resident
Altitude 0 - 600 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching - Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Unknown Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Climate change & severe weather Droughts Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion, Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Temperature extremes Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Species disturbance, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion, Species mortality
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Unknown Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Species disturbance
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Felis catus Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Vulpes vulpes Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Stresses
Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Viral/prion-induced diseases - Avipoxvirus Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Unknown Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Viral/prion-induced diseases - Beak and Feather Disease Virus (BFDV) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Unknown Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Species mortality
Natural system modifications Other ecosystem modifications Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Unknown Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Species mortality

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Pezoporus occidentalis. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/night-parrot-pezoporus-occidentalis on 24/02/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org on 24/02/2024.