Conservation Status

  • National:Vulnerable

Distribution and Habitat

  • Tidal and sub-tidal coral and rocky reef
  • Tropical to warm temperate areas down to northern New South Wales.
  • Feed along east coast, including Great Barrier Reef.
  • Also feed in Torres Strait and the archipelagos of the Northern Territory and Western Australia, as far south as Shark Bay.


  • Breed throughout the year
  • Northern Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait and northeastern Arnhem Land including: Milman, Johnson, Bouydong, Bird and Piper Islands in the northern GBR; Aukane, Kabikane, Mimi, Bet, Sassie and Lacey Islands in Torres Strait; and Hawk, North East and Truant Islands.
  • Pilbara region, from the Dampier Archipelago including Rosemary, Barrow, Monte Bello and Varanus Islands, the Ningaloo coast and Coral Bay.
© Allan D. Vandeford


  • Peak in the Torres Strait and Great Barrier Reef region - January to April
  • Peak Arnhem Land - July and September.
  • Low numbers along Great Barrier Reef, from just north of Princess Charlotte Bay to Torres Strait.
  • Northern Territory and Western Australia.
  • Emerge late December to April
  • Peak - February to early March


  • Distinctive parrot-like beak
  • 4 pairs or more of large scales on either side (costal scales)
  • Thick overlapping carapace scales
  • Carapace low domed with upturned edges
  • Colour olive grey
  • Adult carapace approx. 0.8m


  • Sponges, seagrass, algae, soft corals and shellfish.
© Grant O’Grady
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