Wildlife Feature - Glossy-Black Cockatoo - National Parks Association of Queensland

    NPAQ acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the Queensland National Park Estate and strongly supports co-stewardship with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

Wildlife Feature – Glossy-Black Cockatoo

Author: Dr Mark Nadir Runkovski - Natura Pacific

Photography: Supplied

There’s a bird out there that has brought people together for years. It’s called the Glossy Black-cockatoo and it’s the feature of a brand new episode in the Back from the Brink docu-series being run this year by Natura Pacific and the Glossy Black Conservancy.
The Glossy Black-cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami) is the smallest of Australia’s five endemic black cockatoos. The adults grow up to about 50cm in length and have, in contrast to their English name, dusky chocolately heads and ashey-black plumage. Like many birds, the adults are sexually dimorphic meaning that males and females look different to one another. Males typically have a clear dark plumage apart from the tail which is barred with bright scarlet-red, while females have a splattering of yellow across their head and throat and their tail barring is more sunset-orange.

The birds have undergone extensive habitat loss since European colonisation and subsequent development. There are two essential elements of their life-cycle that constitute whether a patch of natural vegetation is suitable enough as habitat; these are the presence of their key preferred food-trees, she-oaks, and the presence of large hollow-bearing trees in which to nest.

Unfortunately, due to land-clearing prevailing for a multitude of priority development areas in our lowland coastal flats around southern Queensland, much of the former range of the cockatoos has experienced a decline in healthy, productive she-oak stands, as these dry forests are often easy-to-clear, prime real estate. The hollow-bearing trees have also suffered with a decline of up to 70% in some Queensland landscapes, and recent studies conducted by the Queensland Herbarium indicated that dead and living hollow-bearing trees are particularly sensitive to intense fires.

Thankfully this beautiful bird has a strong task-force behind it, the Glossy Black Conservancy (https://glossyblack.org.au/). This multi-disciplinary alliance of people from councils, government, academia and community have banded together for over 20 years to map, record, monitor and fuel change to try and restore and reconnect Glossy Black habitat. And you can help too! Perhaps one of the most attainable ways to help out the team, and the birds of course, is to get involved with their upcoming Glossy Black-cockatoo Birding Day which is running on the weekend of the 11th and 12th September right across southern Queensland from the Tweed River all the way to Noosa.

To find out more and become part of this fantastic initiative, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/1445896569085882/

Additionally to the hard-work on the ground in spotting, recording and mapping the remaining cockatoos in the wild, the new Back from the Brink film dedicated to this remarkable bird, will aim to raise its profile even more within our community as a flagship species. The film and accompanying podcast will be produced in October and available across social media channels – Apple Podcast link (https://apple.co/3nhCb5P) and the YouTube link (https://bit.ly/3gJf1VC)

So if you’re thinking, what can I do for nature this year in my small block of land, why look any further than making the Glossy Black-cockatoo your new favourite critter, and invest some of your free time into learning about, and doing more, for our amazing biodiversity!

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