Backyard Buddies
Carnaby's Black-cockatoo

Photo: Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo (c) Cherilyn Corker 2016 birdlifephotography.org.au

Carnaby's Black-cockatoo

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The Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo is a large, dull-black cockatoo with a short erectile crest and a large bill. The bird is mostly grey-black, with narrow off-white fringes to the feathers, giving it a scaly appearance. This is relieved by a patch of cream-coloured feathers on the ear-coverts, and the tail has large white panels, especially noticeable when the bird is flying...

Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo is classified as Endangered. This may surprise some people, as the species occurs over quite a wide area of south-western Western Australia, where they are often rather conspicuous, sometimes congregating into large flocks. They are even considered pests by some farmers when they descend onto crops of almonds and similar foods. However, their population has declined greatly in recent decades, due mostly to the loss and fragmentation of their preferred habitats, and they need the support of conservation programs to ensure their survival.

Carnaby’s cockatoo is endemic to the south-west of WA, ranging from the Kalbarri in the north to Esperance in the south-east, and inland to Coorow, Kellerberrin and Lake Cronin. They are most common in semi-arid parts of the south-west. It is estimated that the species’ range has been reduced by approximately 50% and is continuing to decline due to widespread vegetation clearing since the 1970s. The population is estimated at 10,000-60,000 breeding individuals.

Carnaby’s cockatoos are a very long-lived species with the oldest known adult in the wild surviving approximately 34 years. They are a gregarious species, living in small to large flocks (up to 5,000 individuals) in the winter, non-breeding season. They have large roost sites generally situated within 6km of potential feeding sites, and smaller roost sites for when foraging distances are too large.
 
Carnaby’s feed on a wide range of proteaceous and myrtaceous species, as well as opportunistically foraging in fruit and nut orchards. Carnaby’s cockatoo occur in uncleared and remnant areas of woodland, shrubland and kwongan heath dominated by proteaceous species. They breed in the semiarid and subhumid interior eucalypt woodlands, principally dominated by Salmon Gum Eucalyptus salmonophloia or Wandoo Eucalyptus wandoo. The Avon Wheatbelt bioregion is an important breeding area for the species. After breeding, flocks tend to migrate coastward in search of food, with the Swan Coastal Plain recognised as an important foraging area. 


 

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Photo: OEH