Night Parrot – Helen Ansell


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Acrylic on canvas by Helen Ansell

Night Parrot, acrylic on canvas, 80 x 80cm, $2700

(Pezoporus occidentalis)

This small Australian bird is well known as being one of the most elusive and mysterious in the world, with no confirmed sightings between 1912 and 1979, leading to speculation that it was extinct. Sightings since then have been extremely rare and its population size is unknown, though based on the paucity of records it is thought to number between 50 and 249 mature individuals.

Predominantly terrestrial, its natural habitat appears to be the spinifex grass which still dominates much of the dry, dusty Australian interior; with that seed and other herbs forming its diet. Other early reports also indicate that it never strayed far from water.

Its mostly short ‘ding-ding’ whistles, and a more drawn out whistle, have been recorded.

Evidence of it has been found in the desert stretching south from the Bungle Bungles. Therefore this night scene makes a great setting for a mysterious bird.

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Additional information

Dimensions 80 × 80 cm