Paradise Parrot

The Paradise Parrot (Psephotus pulcherrimus) was a colourful medium-sized parrot native to the grassy woodlands of the Queensland - New South Wales border area of northeastern Australia. Once moderately common within its fairly restricted range, the last live bird was seen in 1927. Extensive and sustained searches in the years since then have failed to produce any reliable evidence of it, and it is unknown if it is extinct or not.

Paradise Parrots lived in pairs or small family groups, making their nests in hollowed-out termite mounds and similar places, often at or near ground level, and feeding, so far as is known, almost exclusively on grass seeds.

The plumage was extraordinarily colorful, even by parrot standards, a mixture of turquoise, aqua, scarlet, black and brown, and the tail almost the same length as the body—something difficult to understand in a bird that, although a rapid, undulating flyer, spent almost all of its time on the ground.

The reasons for the sudden decline of the Paradise Parrot remain speculative. Possibilities include overgrazing, land clearing, changed fire regimes, hunting by bird collectors, and predation by introduced mammals like cats. It became rare towards the end of the 19th century and was thought extinct by 1915. A series of searches turned up a few more individuals over the next decade, but the last confirmed sighting was on 14 September 1927.

Famous quotes containing the words parrot and/or paradise:

    The island dreams under the dawn
    And great boughs drop tranquillity;
    The peahens dance on a smooth lawn,
    A parrot sways upon a tree,
    Raging at his own image in the enamelled sea.
    William Butler Yeats (1865–1939)

    So near to paradise all pairing ends:
    Here loveless birds now flock as winter friends,
    Content with bud-inspecting. They presume
    To say which buds are leaf and which are bloom.
    Robert Frost (1874–1963)