The Night Parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis) is a rare, nocturnal parrot species that has largely escaped scientific investigation due to its behaviour and habitat preferences. Recent field studies have revealed some insights into Night Parrot behaviour, but nothing is known of its sensory abilities. Here, we used μCT scans of an intact Night Parrot specimen to determine if its visual system shares similarities with other nocturnal species. The endocast of the Night Parrot revealed relatively small optic lobes and optic foramina, especially compared with closely related grass parakeets, but no apparent differences in orbit dimensions. Our data suggests that the Night Parrot likely has lower visual acuity than most other parrots, including its congener, the Eastern Ground Parrot (P. wallicus). We propose that the visual system of the Night Parrot might represent a compromise between the need to see under low light conditions and the visual acuity required to detect predators, forage, and fly. Based on the endocast and optic foramen measurements, the Night Parrot fits into a common pattern of decreased retinal input to the optic lobes in birds that should be explored more thoroughly in extant and extinct species.
Bibliographical noteOpen Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Cre-ative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not per-mitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
- Night parrot