Help’s needed to spot the threatened black cockatoo

Glossy black cockatoo. Photos by Kerri-Lee Harris.

NOW in their breeding season, Minister for the Environment and Heritage Mick Gentleman is calling on the community to help map the distribution of the glossy black cockatoo. 

Mr Gentleman says glossy black cockatoos, also known as “Calyptorhynchus lathami”, are one of the more threatened species of cockatoo in Australia and are listed as vulnerable in NSW and the ACT.

“In conjunction with a NSW Government Saving Our Species program, we would like a better understanding of just how many of these cockatoos are left in our region and where are their important habitats,” he says.   

“Glossy black cockatoos are considerably smaller than the yellow-tailed black cockatoo, which is the only other black cockatoo in our area. They also have red or orange-red tail feathers and short tails. Females have a variable amount of yellow on their necks and head.

“The birds feed almost exclusively on allocasuarina fruit (often called ‘she-oak cones’). In the wider Canberra region its occurrence is closely tied to the presence of drooping she-oak (Allocasuarina verticillata). 

“One, two or small groups of birds will sit quietly, chewing on the fruit, sometimes remaining in the same tree for hours. In fact the squeaking and cracking of their feeding is often the first indication of their presence. Such feasting also leaves tell-tale evidence long after they’ve gone in the form of the scattering of torn allocasuarina fruit on the ground below.”

People seeing the glossy black cockatoo anywhere in the ACT or south-east NSW are asked to report their sighting via the community wildlife platforms, “Canberra Nature Map” (ACT and surrounding NSW local government areas), “Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness” (far NSW south coast) or Budawang Coast (Shoalhaven area).

For further information see Canberra Nature Map or Atlas of Life websites.

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