Australia's rarest bird, the night parrot, was first photographed in 2015. But ancient accounts of the nocturnal bird have been recorded throughout time by older generations of Indigenous traditional landowners and early European explorers.

ABC News reported that Ngururrpa and Kiwirrkurra rangers had been an important discovery of the country's largest known night parrot population. They have recordings of night parrot calls for the past six months from the sites across 100 kilometers of Australia's Great Sandy Desert.

University of Queensland night parrot researcher, Nick Leseberg said that the recordings are music to the ears. His research has been conducted on other populations of the nocturnal parrot in western Queensland, where they found 15 night parrots over a 500,000-hectare area.

The new recordings that rangers and Leseberg have of the night parrot population contradict previous claims on their sparseness. Leseberg pointed out that there could be up to 50 to 60 birds in the area, and getting recordings of calls from at least five or six birds indicates that there are more of them that are not yet discovered.

 Largest Known Night Parrot Population Recorded Since It Was First Photographed in 2015
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Night Parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis) Bird illustration by Elizabeth Gould for Birds of Australia

Night Parrot: Australia's Most Mysterious Bird

The night parrot's secretive behavior has made it one of Australia's most mysterious birds, according to Birdlife Australia. Unlike other parrot species, they are nocturnal and live in remote locations of the country, making it more difficult to find them.

In the recent decades, there are only a handful of records of the nocturnal bird wherein most of the sightings were dead birds found in the 1900 and 2006.

Then in 2015, the first photograph of the bird was published, proving that they are alive. But the bird's location was a closely guarded secret where night parrots have been recorded there again.

This bird is a medium-sized green parrot that may look like an overgrown budgie, but it has a dumpy body and a short tail. Its plumage is mainly green with a touch of yellow and black streaks, spots, and barring. But when it is flying, it shows its pale-yellow wing bar.

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New Recordings of Night Parrot

According to ABC News, the night parrot is almost a mythical species first documented by indigenous traditional landowners and European explorers.

Ngururrpa ranger Clifford Sunfly said that the bird is an elusive species that he did not even know lived in the desert where he grew up. The new recordings of the night parrots came when bird scientists finally connected the calls of the night parrot to the mysterious bird.

"Ten years ago, nobody knew what a night parrot sounded like - we could have put out these recorders and been recording night parrots all night long, but no one would have known what that sound was," Leseberg said accord to ABC News. "Now we can listen to recordings and go, "Oh! That's a night parrot; we know that's a night parrot."

Sunfly added that although he heard stories about the birds, most of the older people say that they did not know it was from the night parrots, not until they connected the nocturnal call with the birds. He describes the noise as similar to an evil spirit so that they could get any closer to the birds.


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