Regent Parrot Surveys

Several surveys have been conducted during the past decade in an effort to ascertain the status of the Regent Parrot in South Australia. These surveys were conducted during the breeding season, when the birds are concentrated along the river corridor as they breed almost exclusively in River Red Gums. The number of nests present is a clear indication of the number of nesting pairs and hence the breeding population of this parrot in SA.

Over the two breeding seasons, 2003 and 2004, Kevin Smith managed to locate a large proportion of nests and by observing feeding flocks leading to a total estimated  population of approximately 800 breeding individuals. Over 370 person hours of survey effort, each breeding season, was required to  achieve this result. A total of 51 colonies were found along the river from  the SA border downstream to Swan Reach. Some of these colonies were very small, but several  numbered in excess of 20 nesting pairs.

Smith recommended that a selection of these colonies should be surveyed every second year . Ten of the largest breeding colonies were selected for this biannual monitoring. These ten colonies were  surveyed in 2006 and 2008. In 2010 a larger project was run. With the assistance of a number of volunteers a full survey was conducted of the whole river corridor in SA. Almost 30 people assisted, registering a total of over 1100 person hours.

2010 Survey and Results

During the 2010 survey,  79.2% of the river corridor and adjacent  creeks and backwaters were searched, including the  ten previously monitored nest sites. Results revealed an overall decline in nesting Regent Parrot  pairs in the ten colonies of 40% over the period between 2004 and 2010. As r easonably  stable numbers between were found between 2004 to 2008, the decline occurred over the past two years.

The greatest decline in nesting pairs was evident in colonies upstream of Lock 3 where drowned River  Red Gums have been the traditional nesting sites for Regent Parrots over the last twenty years at least.  The condition of these trees is in rapid decline as a result of decay. There is also anecdotal evidence of increased human disturbance in the area.

From 2004 to 2008 the number of Regent Parrot nesting pairs downstream of Lock 3 in the ten selected  colonies had increased, but then declined again by 26.5% over the past two years. 

Read the full results in the report and associated maps, click on the links below to download:

Download the report - pdf

Download the appendices (maps) - pdf