CANBERRA, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Australia's capital city could play a critical role in the conservation of the endangered superb parrot, the nation's leading expert has said.
Laura Rayner, a landscape ecologist at the Australian National University (ANU) and Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Parks and Conservation biologist, has spent two years studying the superb parrot population in Canberra.
She has found that superb parrots are increasingly being forced out of their natural habitats by land clearing and climate change.
As much as 95 percent of woodland the bird usually nests in to breed has been cleared in Australia, Rayner said, leaving the small parrots to compete with more aggressive species for nesting hollows.
Rayner has been engaged by the ACT government to study what can be done to save the parrot and she has identified Canberra as key to the revival of the species.
"It's very hard to find a tree in this landscape that doesn't have at least one or two nests in it, but it's also not terribly unusual that I'll find a tree that has maybe four nests of four different species," Rayner told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Thursday.
"All along this corridor there are scattered trees, or open woodland, that is perfect habitat for the superb parrot."
Climate change has caused the bird's natural range to shrink, an ANU study lead by Rayner found, with Canberra likely to become the last bastion of appropriate habitats.
"While we were seeing some positive signs for the superb parrot in Canberra, we were also seeing some concerning trends elsewhere in their range," Rayner said.
"In 50 to 70 years, this landscape -- this area -- is going to be the most important area for the (superb parrot) population.
"If we want wild self-sustaining populations of superb parrots, we have to prepare these landscapes for their increase in numbers.
"So we need to start preparing now because, as most people would appreciate, you can't grow a tree hollow in five years, 10 years, it takes 50 years."