25 September 2023

Pollie goes crackers over rare cockatoo

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Photo: Kerri-Lee Harris

The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Mick Gentleman has called on the community to report sightings of glossy black cockatoos during their current breeding season.

“Glossy black cockatoos [Calyptorhynchus lathami] are one of the more threatened species of cockatoo in Australia and are listed as vulnerable in NSW and the ACT,” Mr Gentleman said.

“In conjunction with the 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 said glossy black cockatoos were considerably smaller than the yellow-tailed black cockatoo, which was the only other black cockatoo in the Canberra area, and have red or orange-red tail feathers and short tails, while females also have a variable amount of yellow on their necks and head.

Mr Gentleman said the birds feed almost exclusively on allocasuarina fruit — also known as she-oak cones and, in the wider Canberra region, their occurrence is closely tied to the presence of the 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,” Mr Gentleman said.

“In fact, the squeaking and cracking of their feeding is often the first indication of their presence.”

He said people seeing the glossy black cockatoo anywhere in the ACT or south-east NSW should 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 (NSW Far South Coast) or Budawang Coast (Shoalhaven area).

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