The ‘Critically Endangered’ Western Ground Parrot or Kyloring is a relatively small and elusive parrot and is restricted to coastal heathland in southern Western Australia.
This elusive, ground-dwelling parrot lives deep within patches of long-unburnt coastal heathland habitat on the south coast of Western Australia. While it is seldom seen, birds can be heard calling to one another shortly after dusk and before dawn.
Estimates suggest there are now between 100 and 150 wild birds remaining. Due to their dramatic decline in range and populations, the Western Ground Parrot is classified nationally as Critically Endangered (EPBC 1999) and considered to be one of the most threatened birds in Australia.
The Kyloring is a slender, medium-sized parrot (30cm length) with a long tail. It has distinctive mottled green plumage with a yellow belly and a bright-red band above its beak.
Although largely secretive birds, Kyloring are vocal for a brief window at dawn and dusk. At this time, adults make a series of distinctive, repeated or rising, high-pitched notes. This simplistic but characteristic chiming call can be persistent and far-reaching. Chick calls are more variable whistles.
Although once found in coastal heathlands from Geraldton (north of Perth) to Israelite Bay (east of Esperance), the Western Ground Parrot has experienced significant range contraction and population decline. This is largely due to habitat alteration, changes in fire patterns and the impacts of feral predators including cats and foxes.
The 2015 bushfires on the south coast had a devastating impact on already small numbers. Consequently, The Western Ground Parrot has become restricted to two small populations on the south coast of Western Australia: a remnant one at Cape Arid National Park/Nuytsland Nature Reserve, and another translocated one east of Albany.
The Western Ground Parrot lives exclusively in coastal heathland habitat with a diverse range of low-growing shrubs. During the day, they feed on or near the ground in dense vegetation, foraging for an array of seeds, nuts, flower buds, and other plant material. Although the birds can venture into more recently burnt areas whilst feeding (2-3 years regenerating habitat), it is reliant on long-unburnt patches of heathland (burnt 40 years or more ago) for shelter and breeding.
Western Ground Parrots are well-camouflaged and elusive birds and little is known of their wild behaviour. They appear to be relatively sedentary and diurnal, with most vocalisation around dawn and dusk. They spend most of their day foraging on or near the ground.
During the day, Western Ground Parrots feed on or near the ground in dense vegetation, foraging for an array of seeds, nuts, flower buds and other plant material.
Little is known of the breeding biology of the Western Ground Parrot. Birds breed from August to November, creating nests hidden in low vegetation. Females can lay three or more eggs in one clutch.
Several birds are currently cared for in a captive breeding program at Perth Zoo, aiming to increase the number of birds.