Matomo-Image-Tracker Psittaciformes - Northiella - Naretha Bluebonnet


Naretha Bluebonnet - Northiella Narethae - Least Concern

The Naretha bluebonnet (Northiella narethae) is an Australian parrot, one of two species in the genus Northiella. It is closely related to, and was considered a subspecies of, the eastern bluebonnet.

History: It was first described by Henry Luke White in 1921 as Psephotus narethae. An associate of White's, the field worker F. Lawson Whitlock, had come across a railway official on the Trans-Australian Railway with a pet parrot that had been caught at Naretha, which corresponded with no known species. Later, White was heading to Western Australia on business and stopped in Zanthus to talk to the official and obtained three skins which he conveyed to the museum in Melbourne.[ The Naretha parrot was subsequently classified as a subspecies (N. h. narethæ) of Northiella haematogaster, the eastern bluebonnet. A molecular study published in 2015 by Gaynor Dolman and Leo Joseph confirmed its genetic isolation from the eastern bluebonnet and recommended it be reinstated as a separate species.

Description: The Naretha bluebonnet is smaller than the eastern bluebonnet, at around 28 cm (11 in) in length. The legs and feet are dark grey, and the iris is dark brown. The adult male has a two tonal facial pattern with a lighter green-blue forehead, lores and area above the eye contrasting with the rest of the face which is a purplish-blue. The light grey-brown head, foreneck and breast are marked with pale steaks and diffuse spots. The back is olive-grey. The belly, vent and thighs are a uniform yellow with the red being restricted to the under-tail-coverts area. The lesser wing coverts are blue and outer median wing coverts red, while the inner median and greater wing coverts, and inner secondaries a yellow-olive color. The central tail feathers are tinged with pale blue. The adult female has a duller blue on the forehead, and reduced color on wings and tail, and with no tint of orange on the belly. It is smaller overall at around 26 cm (10 in) in length.

Distribution and Habitat: The Naretha bluebonnet is reported to have been common in the arid Nullarbor region, and became rarer during the Twentieth century. The localised range of individuals is thought to make the species highly endemic to an area on the border of Western and South Australia.

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Page last updated: 12/24/23

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