Mount Isa birder Rex Whitehead says the elusive night parrot definitely exists in North West Queensland and he has been lucky enough to see one once.
Mr Whitehead was commenting after recent reports cast doubt on its existence when John Young's research into the rare bird was revealed as fraudulent.
The night parrot had been believed to be extinct for over a century until Mr Young claimed to have spotted a live bird in a western Queensland national park in 2013.
That sighting and the photo of the bird Mr Young took at the time has not been contested but subsequent research Mr Young did for the Australian Wildlife Conservancy between 2016 to 2018 -has been shown by wildlife experts to be without merit.
Mr Whitehead, a lifelong birder whose father and grandfather were also birders, said despite the controversy the bird has been seen many times in North West Queensland.
His introduction to the bird was through Neville Cayley's book What Bird is That? and he saw specimens in the Melbourne Museum.
When he moved to Mount Isa in 1962, he was determined to find the bird in the bush and made a big discovery while out spotlight shooting one winter's morning in 1965 with his wife's uncle.
"About 40km south west of Mount Isa, I had a night parrot dazzled in the spotlight on the track in front of my vehicle," Mr Whitehead said.
"I got out of the vehicle to catch the parrot but it flushed when I was about one and a half metres from it."
Mr Whitehead said he reported his find to two well-known Mount Isa birders, Bob Carruthers and Bill Horton, and showed the site to the latter.
"I also reported my observation to the late Harry Butler following his failed attempts to find the night parrot in Western Australia," he said.
"He came to Mount Isa in the 1970s and while he didn't see a night parrot, he was convinced they are in the area after conversations with station owners, managers and workers."
Mr Whitehead said there had been many unofficial sightings of the night parrot in western Queensland with carcasses found near Boulia in 1990 and in Diamantina National Park in 2006.
He also said he believed the photo Mr Young took of the live parrot on Brighton Downs Station, now known as Pullen Pullen Reserve, was genuine.
"Dr Steve Murphy became involved and caught one and found their nest and eggs and he fitted a transmitter to one so its habits could be monitored," he said.
"The night parrot was also found on the adjoining property Mount Windsor, owned by the McDonalds."
Bush Heritage Australia agree with Mr Whitehead that the 2013 sighting of the bird was genuine.
"There are no questions being raised about the veracity of that particular sighting, which precipitated our decision to purchase the land that is now Pullen Pullen Reserve," Bush Heritage Australia said in a statement.
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