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Aboriginal rangers locate rare night parrot in outback WA’s Martu country

One of Australia’s most mysterious birds has been found by Aboriginal rangers in outback WA.

A recent sound recording of the elusive night parrot on Martu country is the fifth confirmed location in WA.

Most recordings have occurred in remote areas of the Western Desert.

Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa ranger teams have been using sound recorders to locate the bird for two years and will now focus on pinpointing the roosting site of the recent find and tracking down other populations.

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Martu ranger Gavin Nanudie said the parrot was discovered near a salt lake, which was consistent with other sightings in WA.

“I feel really good to have found that night parrot, we were lucky to put that sound recorder in the right spot,” he said.

“We found them in the lake area where the feed and water and big spinifex is.

“We’ll keep looking for them around the lakes.

“If we find that nest, we’ll do a little bit of burning, not too much, to protect them.”

It is believed areas around salt lakes provide protection from fires and provides feeding and roosting habitat.

KJ Rangers with a recently installed sound recorder.
Camera IconKJ Rangers with a recently installed sound recorder. Credit: Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa

University of Queensland ecologist Stephen Murphy said the find highlighted the importance of getting rangers out on country.

“The recent discovery of night parrots on Martu country is a great example of two-way science, where detailed knowledge of country was combined with knowledge of night parrot ecology to identify the kinds of places the species might persist,” he said.

“The discovery illustrates how supporting people to be on country — which maintains and builds knowledge — can lead to nationally significant conservation outcomes,” Dr Murphy said.

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