Orange-bellied Parrots return for breeding season

​Orange-bellied Parrots (OBPs) are flocking to Melaleuca for the breeding season.

As of 17 October, 18 OBPs have returned to date, featuring a mix of wild-born and captive-born birds released as juveniles in previous seasons, with ages ranging from first-year birds to birds hatched in 2018.

At this early stage the numbers are looking good, with many more hoped to arrive by the December census date.

Over at the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania’s Five Mile Beach Wildlife Management Facility parrots are also getting ready for the breeding season. 

Single Orange bellied-Parrot sitting on a branch

OBP Tasmanian Program wildlife officers have been busy cleaning and adding fresh branches to breeding aviaries.

Twenty breeding pairs have been established, females have started building their nests, and wildlife officers are seeing some courtship feeding, the first eggs are expected later in October. 

Captive-bred birds are also currently being released at Melaleuca as part of the Spring Release program, with the third and final group set to be released in early November.

Spring releases are a fundamental part of the OBP management strategy. By releasing captive-bred adult OBPs into the wild prior to the onset of nesting, we increase the number of potential breeding pairs – aiming to have more wild-born juveniles migrating north at the end of the season.

Spring releases are a great example of how the OBP Tasmanian Program, captive institutions such as Moonlit Sanctuary and Healesville Sanctuary, and the OBP National Recovery Team, are working together to produce valuable outcomes for OBPs.

See all the latest updates on OBPs.