Pezoporus occidentalis (Gould, 1861:100)

Night parrot, Spinifex parrot, Porcupine parrot, Night parakeet (archaic), Ground-parakeet (archaic), tnokkapaltara (Arunta people, central Australia), myrrlumbing (ethnography uncertain)



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Geopsittacus occidentalis Gould, 1861:100


Conservation Status

Last record: 1912
Rediscovered in 1990 (Boles et al., 1991, 1994)
IUCN status: Endangered

Between 1912 and 1990 there were many alleged records of this species (e.g. Ives, 1971; Storr, 1960; Blyth, 1996 and references therein). One such unconfirmed report was of an adult and five young in a nest under a large spinifex bush near south-eastern shore of Lake Ballard, south-eastern Western Australia in April 1937 (Ford, 1957; Storr, 1986:28). A flurry of reports originated from Cloncurry, Queensland in the early 1990's (Garnett et al., 1993). The sighting by Shane Parker in 1979 is possibly the most reputable pre-rediscovery sighting.





Biology & Ecology




First known specimen:

The first known specimen collected was by John McDouall Stuart in 1845 (Cleland, 1936).



"The only authentic record [from the Gascoyne region] is the collecting of the holotype by the Austin expedition in September 1854; the locality was fixed by H.M. Wilson (1937, Emu 37: 80) as 13 km SE Mt Farmer near the west end of Lake Austin. There are a few unconfirmed reports from the north-east of the region: on the upper Ashburton, at Nichol Springs and Chalk Springs (both on the Ethel River), and at Bolgers Soak, the head of Neds Creek and Pinyerinya Pool (all north of Lake Gregory)."

(Storr, 1985:36)

The specimen is recorded in the original journal of the expedition (Austin, 1855).


Other collections:

Western Australia, 1896 (North, 1898)



Above: illustration by Roland Green, published in (Mathews, 1916-1917:pl.324).





Original scientific description:

Gould, John. (1861). On a new genus and species of parakeet from Western Australia. Proceedings of the Royal Zoological Society of London 1861: 100-101.


Other references:

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Anonymous. (1917). Have you ever seen the Night Parrot? Geelong Advertiser, Tuesday 11 September 1917, page 2.

Anonymous. (1933). Inland Tour. The Courier-Mail. Tuesday 3 October 1933, page 7.

Anonymous. (1940). Night parrot is a rare bird. The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), 13 April. Available at:

Anonymous. (1964). List of rare birds, including those thought to be so but of which detailed information is still lacking. IUCN Bulletin 10(Special Supplement): 4 pp.

Anonymous. (1968). The elusive night parrot. Nature Walkabout 4(2): 39-41.

Ashby, E. (1924). Notes on extinct or rare Australian birds, with suggestions as to some of the causes of their disappearance. Part 1. Emu 23(3): 178-183.

Austin, R. (1855). Journal…expedition…interior of Western Australia, north and east of the settled districts… Perth, W.A.: Government Printer.

Australian Geographic. (Due October, 2017). Australia Gone Wild. Sydney: Australian Geographic.

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White, J. (1991). Sidney William Jackson, Bush Photographer. The Seven Press, Scone, NSW.

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Whitlock, F. L. (1924). Journey to central Australia in search of the night parrot. Emu 23: 248-281.

Whittell, H. M. (1954). The Literature of Australian Birds: A History and a Bibliography of Australian Ornithology. Paterson Brokensha, Perth.

Whittle, H. M. and Serventy, D. L. (1948). A Systematic List of the Birds of Western Australia. Perth: Public Library, Museum and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Special Publication no. 1, 126 pp.

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Young, John, Bellchambers, K. and Kanowski, J. (2018). Confirmation of the Night Parrot on Kalamurina. Perth: Australian Wildlife Conservancy.


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