This is one of the world’s most critically endangered species with fewer than 50 individuals remaining in the wild.
Orange-bellied Parrots are unusual parrots in that they are migratory, travelling from their winter foraging sites in salt marshes of Victoria and South Australia to breed in tree hollows in the south-west wilderness of Tasmania.
Although the species was the first Australian bird to have its own recovery team, numbers are still declining due to habitat loss, predation, collisions with artificial structures and inbreeding due to small population size. Captive ‘insurance’ populations are doing well and they may ensure the species’ survival, but at present the plight of the wild population is grim. Trials have shown that birds released from captivity can migrate across Bass Strait, so there is still some hope that if the threats can be controlled, captive-bred birds might bolster – and rescue – the wild population.
Distribution: southern Australia
Conservation status: Critically Endangered
Evolutionary distinctiveness: Low