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The Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) is a small broad-tailed parrotendemic to southern Australia, and one of only two species of parrot which migrate. The adult male is distinguished by its bright grass-green upperparts, yellow underparts and orange belly patch. The adult female and juvenile are duller green in colour. All birds have a blue frontal band and blue outer wing feathers. The diet consists of seeds and berries of small coastal grasses and shrubs.
The Orange-bellied Parrot breeds in
Tasmania and winters near the coast, foraging on saltmarsh species, beach or dune plants and a variety of exotic weed species[2]on southern mainland Australia. With only 44 wild birds known to be alive after the summer 2012/13 breeding season,[3] it is regarded as a critically endangered species.[4]
Orange-bellied Parrots are being bred in a captive breeding program with parrots in
Taroona, Tasmania, Healesville Sanctuary, Adelaide Zoo, Melbourne Zoo, Halls Gap Zoo, Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park and Priam Parrot Breeding Centre. The captive population consists of around 300 birds, with a target of 350 birds by 2016/17.[4] Because of the alarming decline in the wild population in recent years, an additional 21 birds from the wild population were captured in 2010/2011 to improve the genetic diversity of the species' captive breeding program. Taken as a whole, the captive population is termed an "insurance population" against extinction.[5]