Perhaps the rarest and most endangered bird in South East Queensland is Coxen’s Fig Parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni). There are an estimated 100 individuals left but no one really knows as they are a cryptic species. The small green parrots feed quietly on native rainforest figs and being the size and shape of fig leaves, they are very hard to see so targeted searches for this species usually fail to find any. To save the species, the QLD and NSW State Governments want to start a captive breeding program, but nobody can find an occupied nest. Stock for breeding programs is normally taken from wild nests. I suppose that this would make my discovery of some old nesting hollows in a mangrove tree a significant find.
|Old fig parrot nest holes in a mangrove beside the board walk at Nudgee Beach|
|A lizard in a stag beetle hole in the same tree. The stag beetles may make pilot holes for the parrots.|
|Fig parrot in Cairns starting to tunnel - 17 July 2014.|
|Stopping for a look around.|
|30 August, been sleeping in the hole for while now, but when there is a noise, the parrot comes to the entrance for a look (flash photo taken just after dark).|
|Female fig parrot begging for food from its mate.|
|Male fig parrot about to feed the female.|
Although I did find nest hollows in the mangroves, I do not believe that in general mangroves are suitable habitat. Mangroves have high populations of rats which predate crabs and which would prey on parrot chicks as well.
|Red browed fig parrot feeding on Ficus racemosa on an isolated tree on a sand ridge in the mangroves.|
Fig parrots feed for days to weeks on a single tree until fruiting stops and they return as soon as fruiting begins again, so isolated urban trees are likely to be extremely important to this species. The species recovery plans should include the establishment a network of isolated trees which can fee the birds year round. All the photos above were planted trees. I planted them.
|The 1.5 km long km board walk at Nudgee Beach is just across from Brisbane Airport - something to do before you catch a plane.|
Coxens fig parrot Species Recovery Plan