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The Orange-bellied Parrot is a small parrot that is endemic to southern Australia and un-surprisingly is named for the vivid patch of orange on the belly of this species. The Orange-bellied Parrot is unusual amongst parrot species in that they are migratory (there are only 3 migratory parrot species in the world). This species spends summer in Tasmania to breed and will migrate to coastal Victoria or South Australia for the winter. The Orange-bellied Parrot is one of Australia’s most threatened birds and is at real risk of extinction in the wild in the short term. Orange-bellied Parrot populations are in decline due to habitat loss, feral predators, noxious weeds and disease.
The wild populations of Orange-bellied Parrots are closely monitored and managed by the relevant conservation partners. In the breeding habitat of this species, nest boxes are provided and maintained, predators and competitors are managed, and supplementary food is provided.
Historical records indicate that the Orange-bellied Parrot was once fairly abundant within its range, but it is now one of the rarest of Australian birds.
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The ex-situ (captive breeding) component of the program includes an insurance population of Orange-bellied Parrots. This population provides a source of birds for release to supplement the wild populations. A significant number of birds have been released to the wild since the first release of ex-situ bred birds in 1993. While Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary does not currently breed this species, our Orange-bellied Parrots provide both an opportunity to build awareness about the plight of this species as well as providing space for individual birds that may not be suitable for the breeding program.