Twitchers in a flap over bird discovery

Headshot of Jakeb Waddell
Jakeb WaddellBroome Advertiser

Kimberley twitchers are in a flap after photographing a bird which has not been seen in WA for more than a century.

Broome birdwatchers, Nigel Jackett, Bruce Greatwich, George Swann and Adrian Boyle, made the discovery during an eight day expedition, in search of the elusive bird.

They are keeping the location secret, other than it was in WA amongst spinifex.

The trio captured the images after spotting the curious creature on the morning of March 14.

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The night parrot (pezoporus occidentalis) is known for being one of the most mysterious birds in the world. There were no sightings of the bird between 1912 and 1979 and sightings since then were extremely rare or unproven, which led to speculation that it was extinct.

Mr Jackett said it was research that helped them to finally discover the bird, not luck.

“I never would have thought I would see the night parrot,” said Mr Jackett.

“There were always rumours about possible sightings but never anything concrete.

“It wasn’t until it was rediscovered in Queensland in 2013 that I thought it would be possible.”

Allan Burbidge, principal research scientist at the Department of Parks and Wildlife, said the discovery demonstrates without doubt that the species still persists in WA.

“This finding is significant as well as exciting,” he said.

“From here we’ll research their habitat preferences and population size.

“This gives us information on where to look for the night parrot in other parts of the State, which is beneficial for us.”

The WA Museum acknowledged the sightings as the first to be confirmed in WA in a century.

Mr Jackett said the group’s work is not over and they will now work alongside the Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Night Parrot Recovery Team.

“Obviously they can’t live in such a tiny population in one spot,” he said.

“There must be more out there.”

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