Western Ground Parrot
Western Ground Parrot 
Photo © Brent Barret Parks and Wildlife

Western ground parrots (Pezoporus flaviventris), known as Kyloring by the Noongar Aboriginal people, are medium-sized, slim and mostly green parrots that are rarely seen because they spend most of their time on the ground. Bushfires in October and November 2015 burnt the majority of the birds’ known habitat, further threatening the species’ already uncertain future.

The western ground parrot is recognised as a threatened species under State and Commonwealth legislation. In Western Australia the species is listed as fauna that is ‘rare or likely to become extinct’ in the wild (Specially Protected) under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 and has been assigned the threat status raking of Critically Endangered using the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criteria. Nationally it is listed as Critically Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Where western ground parrots are found

map of Western Ground Parrot distribution
Click to expand

Typically, western ground parrots (WGP) are found in low, mid-dense heathland within a few tens of kilometres of the south coast of Western Australia. Historically, they were known to exist along the south coast between Cape Leeuwin and Point Malcolm, 180km east of Esperance, and north along the west coast to Dongara. Threats have caused major declines in range and population size, with the species only known in more recent times from Waychinicup-Manypeaks, Fitzgerald River National Park and Cape Arid National Park. Further declines have meant that today the species is only found in the south-eastern part of Cape Arid National Park and adjacent areas of Nuytsland Nature Reserve. There are thought to be no more than 150 birds left in the wild.

A map of the known historical distribution of WGP. Yellow symbols are historical records up to 2002, blue symbols are records from 2003 to 2012, and red symbols are records from 2013 to 2016. Of the records from Perth northwards, some have poor spatial and temporal resolution, and some are unconfirmed.

(Map taken from Figure 1 of pdfCreating a Future for the Western Ground Parrot: Workshop Report5.94 MB (Parks and Wildlife, 2016).)

How to spot a western ground parrot

Western ground parrots are almost impossible to see, not only because there are so few of them left, but also because they spend the majority of their time feeding, resting and nesting on the ground in low, dense heathlands. If flushed, they will fly very low over the vegetation before diving back down for cover. Experts involved in survey work have found that listening for their calls in the hour before sunrise and the hour after sunset is the best technique for determining if the birds are present. The calls, best described as a high-pitched whistle often likened to a boiling kettle, can also be detected using sound recording devices.

The following information sheet will assist in determining if you have seen a WGP, or one of the other parrots with which they are frequently confused:

pdfHave You Seen a Western Ground Parrot?1.19 MB

If you still think you have seen a WGP after reading the information sheets, please contact the department’s Albany District Office on (08) 9842 4500, or email details to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In addition, we ask that you fill out a fauna report form and email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Main threats to the western ground parrot

  • Historical habitat clearing for agriculture
  • Frequent and extensive fires
  • Predation by feral cats and foxes
  • Climate change leading to an increase in dry lightning storms and bushfires

Refer to the South Coast Threatened Birds Recovery Plan for further information on threats to the western ground parrot.

Recovery Plan

Department of Parks and Wildlife (2014). South Coast Threatened Birds Recovery Plan. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Parks and Wildlife.

The Recovery Plan outlines actions that are being implemented to improve the conservation status of a number of threatened birds in the south coast region, including the western ground parrot:

  • refine, locate and map areas of habitat critical to survival
  • manage habitat and threats
  • develop survey and monitoring protocols to improve detection of population changes
  • monitor and survey known sites and suitable habitat
  • develop a translocation and captive breeding program
  • raise community awareness and involvement.

Recovery projects

The South Coast Threatened Birds Recovery Team, made up of scientists, conservation organisations, community groups and the Department of Parks and Wildlife, is an advisory group that assists the Department with implementing the actions outlined in the South Coast Threatened Birds Recovery Plan.

Perth Zoo houses a small number of western ground parrots with the hope that breeding them in captivity will contribute to their conservation.

Acknowledgement is given to the community groups who dedicate their time and energy to the conservation of the WGP. Friends of the Western Ground Parrot raises funds and awareness, assists with research and recovery projects, and lobbies for government support. South Coast Natural Resource Management launched a donation fund “The South Coast Environment Fund” to contribute to post-fire recovery actions for the areas affected in Esperance and Albany to help protect the western ground parrot and other species at risk.

In March 2016, conservation experts attended a workshop hosted by the Department of Parks and Wildlife. A total of 39 delegates from 19 organisations met over three days to discuss the WGP and develop recommendations for future conservation efforts. The event was supported by WWF Australia, BirdLife WA, the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, South Coast NRM and Friends of the Western Ground Parrot. You can read more about the workshop and its outcomes in the following report:

Department of Parks and Wildlife (2016). pdfCreating a Future for the Western Ground Parrot5.94 MB: Workshop Report (Eds. A. Burbidge, S. Comer, C. Lees, M. Page & F. Stanley). Perth, Western Australia: Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Further Information