Latest Updates

​April 2021

Orange-bellied Parrots are now migrating to mainland Australia after a successful breeding season in Tasmania.
  • In total, 192 Orange-bellied Parrots survived to the end of the breeding season to migrate from Melaleuca
  • 137 eggs laid in 31 nests, hatching out 99 nestlings of which 87 fledged. The number of nests, eggs laid, and fledglings produced were the highest since systematic nest box monitoring began in 1994
  • The population size, which is determined each December when adult birds return to Melaleuca, was 51 birds
  • Five years ago, the population dropped to just 17 birds
  • DPIPWE released a total of 81 Orange-bellied Parrots at Melaleuca: 31 adults in spring to increase the number of breeding pairs, and 50 juveniles at the end of the season to increase the size of the migrating flock
  • The seven nestlings observed at New Harbour fledged and joined the flock at Melaleuca before migrating, along with the two adult breeding pairs
  • Orange-bellied Parrots were seen foraging in the buttongrass plains around Melaleuca

Find out more about the success of this year's breeding season​.


January 2​021

The Tasmanian Orange Bellied Parrot Program has reached another milestone in the conservation of the critically endangered species:
  • In total 136 eggs were laid in 31 nests at Melaleuca this breeding season
  • There were 88 live nestlings counted across 27 nests
  • This is the highest number of nestlings recorded at Melaleuca since the nest box monitoring started in 1994
  • The average clutch size (eggs laid), and brood size (eggs hatched), for individual nests are higher than they have been since 2014
New Harbour:
  • For the first time 2 nests were found at New Harbour with a total of 7 nestlings
  • ​This is the first sign of a range expansion of the breeding population since recovery efforts started
Five Mile Beach Facility:
  • The Five Mile Beach captive facility recorded a successful breeding season
  • 79 fledglings and 40 nestlings were recorded with more eggs to hatch
  • A second round of breeding is underway
  • Up to 50 juveniles bred at the Five Mile Beach Facility, and at the Moonlit Sanctuary captive facility in Victoria, have undergone health screenings and will be released at Melaleuca to join the wild born fledglings at the end of the season

January​ 2020

The Orange-Bellied Parrot (OBP) Recovery Team has confirmed that as of 21 January 2020, 23 OBPs have returned to the last known breeding location, Melaleuca in the last year. ​​

Of these:

  • ​More than half of these OBPs are females, for the first time in five years;
  • Among those returned birds, 16 were born in the wild, six were first year birds migrating successfully for the first time, while the remaining ten successful wild-born migrants were aged up to at least nine years old;
  • The other seven of the OBPs that returned were born in captivity and released at Melaleuca as either: juveniles last autumn (four) or the previous autumn (one), or adults last spring (one) or a previous spring (one). 
DPIPWE led the release of 34 OBPs (17 males, 17 females) to maximise the number of breeding pairs and young birds born in the wild this season. 

Of the 34 OBPs added to the population:
  • nine were captive-bred adults released to the wild for the first time. 
  • the remaining 25 OBPs were released after being captured in the wild last autumn and held in captivity over winter. Three of these were captive-born birds that had been released the previous spring,18 were wild-born birds that fledged last breeding season, and four were wild born birds that had fledged the previous season. 

The OBPs (listed above) were either born or held in captivity in the OBP Tasmanian Program's Five Mile Beach facility, Moonlit Sanctuary, Zoos Victoria's Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Open Range Zoo. 

The OBP is one of Australia's most critically endangered species. Throughout the past decade, the number of individuals that have returned to Melaleuca has ranged between 17 and 35 individuals.

With the best female returns for several years and released birds boosting the small wild population, the OBP Tasmanian Program are hopeful for promising results this breeding season. 

A  full summary by the Orange-bellied Parrot Recovery Team can be found below:

​November 2019

Volunteers have reported observations of 20 wild return OBPs at Melaleuca – 11 males and 9 females.

Of these:

  • 8 are wild born birds >1 year of age that have undergone a natural migration;
  • 4 are wild born birds <1 year of age that have undergone a natural migration;
  • 1 is a wild born bird that was previously head-started (at Werribee Open Range Zoo) and released at Melaleuca in Spring 2018 before migrating naturally this year;
  • 2 are captive-bred birds released in previous spring releases (one from DPIPWE, one from Priam);
  • 1 is a captive-bred bird released as a juvenile in autumn 2018 (bred at Healesville) and
  • 4 are captive-bred birds released as juveniles in autumn 2019 (all bred at Moonlit).

A further 34 individuals have now been released at Melaleuca. This supplementation increases the number of breeding pairs at Melaleuca (the only breeding site for OBPs) and balances the sex ratio, which prevents extinction in the wild.

New Harbour

15 OBPs were released at New Harbour (8 male on 30/11/19, 7 female on 31/11/19).

Of these, as at 4/11/19, up to nine have been detected as follows:

  • Five in one release aviary, with a sixth calling outside;
  • One is being observed at both Melaleuca and New Harbour and
  • Two are outside of the immediate release area.

Monitoring at the site is underway using camera and passive and active radio tracking.

This reintroduction aims to increase the size and extent of the Tasmanian breeding population and trial methods of release at more locations, to allow us to build towards a release strategy that can minimise the risks associated with a single breeding site.



Orange-bellied Parrot Tasmanian Program
Threatened Species & Conservation Programs
GPO Box 44
Hobart TAS 7001

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