Native to Australia’s arid interior, this species lives in grasslands, emerging at night to feed on seeds and plants. By day, it hides within spinifex grasses or dense bushes. Subdued plumage in desert tones of yellow, green, brown and black perfectly camouflage the bird.
The Night Parrot is one of Australia’s rarest birds and has been a figure of ornithological mystery since first being described by John Gould in 1861. Long thought to be extinct, the first real confirmation of its existence was made in 1990 by an Australian Museum team consisting of Dr Walter Boles (Australian Museum ornithologist), Wayne Longmore (Australian Museum Associate) and Dr Max Thompson (visiting researcher from the USA) who found a dead specimen on the road in western Queensland. While that specimen now resides in the Queensland Museum, the Australian Museum is home to four study skins and a mounted specimen, all collected from South Australia in the 1800s.
Distribution: semi-arid to arid central Australia
Conservation status: Endangered
Evolutionary distinctiveness: not assessed