This specimen is part of a collection of almost 200 animal specimens that were originally acquired as skins from various institutions across Australia, including the Australian Museum in Sydney and the National Museum of Victoria (known as Museums Victoria since 1983), as well as individuals such as amateur anthropologist Reynell Eveleigh Johns between 1860-1880. These skins were then mounted by members of the Burke Museum Committee and put-on display in the formal space of the Museum’s original exhibition hall where they continue to be on display. This display of taxidermy mounts initially served to instruct visitors to the Burke Museum of the natural world around them, today it serves as an insight into the collecting habits of the 19th century.
The male Turquoise Parrot is bright green above, with a turquoise blue crown and face. A brilliant two-tone blue band around the bend of the wing contrasts with a dark, brick-red shoulder patch. Its underparts and tail edges are a rich yellow. The female is similar, but not as bright, with a whitish facial mask, no red on the wing, and a pale wing stripe. Old birds of both sexes may have orange underparts.
Once common throughout many parts of eastern Australia, the Turquoise Parrot was formerly recorded from near Mackay in Queensland south to Melbourne until the 1880s, when its population suddenly crashed. It was even considered to be extinct by 1915, but populations recovered spectacularly over the next 20 years or so, and by the 1930s they were again recorded through much of their former range. Now the species can once more be seen in many parts of eastern and south-eastern Australia, though not quite as extensively as before.
These birds are vulnerable in NSW
This specimen is part of a significant and rare taxidermy mount collection in the Burke Museum. This collection is scientifically and culturally important for reminding us of how science continues to shape our understanding of the modern world. They demonstrate a capacity to hold evidence of how Australia’s fauna history existed in the past and are potentially important for future environmental research.
This collection continues to be on display in the Museum and has become a key part to interpreting the collecting habits of the 19th century.
This Turquoise Parrot is bright green above, with a turquoise blue crown and face. A brilliant two-tone blue band around the bend of the wing contrasts with a dark, brick-red shoulder patch. Its underparts and tail edges are a rich yellow. Old birds of both sexes may have orange underparts. This particular specimen is faded with some missing feathers. It is mounted on a wooden stand with a tag wrapped around its leg.
Inscriptions & markings
80a. / Chesnutt-shouldered Grass Parakeet / See Catalogue, page 22.