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Australia’s endangered parrots – climate change and other threats

Spreads for web Parrots 278 4

By David Waugh, Correspondent, Loro Parque Fundación

Of the total 988 bird species recorded in Australia, 59 (six per cent) are parrots (order Psittaciformes). However, of 28 threatened or ‘Near Threatened’ Australian bird taxa (species and subspecies) ranked highest in 2020 for estimated threat burden, the need for knowledge to manage threats effectively and the need to implement known threat mitigation measures, 21 per cent are parrots. This is worrying, but not so surprising in the context that worldwide 28 per cent of parrot species are categorised as threatened with extinction. The positioning of parrots among threatened Australian birds is revealed by recently published research* conducted over the period of 2010 to 2020.

The research examined the estimated impact of threats and the extent to which their management is understood and implemented for all threats to all Australian threatened bird taxa. It reports the situation in 2020 and how this differs from 2010. Such information is necessary for the strategic planning required to reduce extinction risk, and monitoring data must be at an appropriate timescale to enable some form of objective comparison between before and after management. The responses of species to some management actions occur at timescales of decades rather than months or years, and over short timescales the effects of management might be too small to be detected.

The researchers assessed all Australian bird species and subspecies. Of the 1,271 living taxa regularly occurring in Australia, 232 were selected for analysis being those currently considered threatened in 2020, and those retrospectively considered threatened in 2010, but are no longer. For each taxon they quantified the estimated individual impacts of all possible threats, and aggregated this information using a set of metrics that are standardised across all taxa.

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