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It may be possible - and, indeed it is most likely - that flocks of Parakeets no longer fly over the houses and chase each other in the streets of Hobart Town and Adelaide, that no longer does the noble Bustard stalk over the flats of the Upper Hunter, nor the Emus feed and breed on the Liverpool plains, as they did at that time; and if this be so, surely the Australians should at once bestir themselves to render protection to these and many other native birds: otherwise very many of them, like the fine Parrot (Nestor productus) of Norfolk Island, will soon become extinct. John Gould, Handbook to The Birds of Australia, 1865. Preface, p.xxiv.

Nestor Productus in The Birds of Australia: in seven volumes by John Gould

The Norfolk Island Kaka (Nestor productus), as illustrated by Elizabeth Gould in The Birds of Australia. The last known bird died in captivity in London in 1851.

Image: Research Library
© Australian Museum Research Library

John Gould wrote many warnings about the potential extinction of Australian species. Ironically, his collectors were killing thousands of birds and mammals all over the world to send to him for identification and illustration.

According to Sue Taylor in her 2012 book, John Gould's Extinct and Endangered Birds of Australia, five birds illustrated by John Gould have since become extinct:

Extinct birds illustrated by John Gould
Name Scientific Name First description Date of last sighting
Norfolk Island Kaka Nestor productus Gould, 1836 1851
Lord Howe Thrush/Island Thrush (Lord Howe Island sub-species) Turdus poliocephalus vinitinctus Gould, 1855 1913
Robust White-eye Zosterops strenous Gould, 1855 1918
Paradise Parrot/Beautiful Parakeet Psephotus pulcherrimus Gould, 1845 1927
Norfolk Thrush/Island Thrush (Norfolk Island sub-species) Turdus poliocephalus poliocephalus Latham, 1801 1975

Since the European colonisation of Australia, 21 species of birds and 27 species of mammals have been declared extinct.

"Beautiful parakeet" The Birds of Australia : in seven volumes / by John Gould.

The Paradise Parrot (Psephotus pulcherrimus), given the common name "Beautiful Parrakeet" by Gould in The Birds of Australia. The last confirmed sighting of this species was in 1927.

Image: James King
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