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Canberrans asked to help spot the threatened and messy glossy black cockatoo

By Glynis Quinlan 16 June 2018 68
Canberrans are being asked to help plot the locations of the threatened glossy black cockatoo. Photo by Kerri-Lee Harris.

Canberrans are being asked to help plot the locations of the threatened glossy black cockatoo. Photo: Kerri-Lee Harris.

Canberra birdwatchers, walkers and community members are being asked to be on the lookout for the threatened glossy black cockatoo during its current breeding season.

The ACT Government is asking for help in mapping the location of these small birds and the task shouldn’t be too difficult given they are such noisy, messy eaters!

ACT Environment Minister Mick Gentleman said the 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.

“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,” Mr Gentleman said.

“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.”

Mr Gentleman said that one or two of the birds or even small groups 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,” Mr Gentleman said.

“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.”

You can often tell the glossy black cockatoos are around by the squeaking and cracking noise made while they are eating. Photo by Kerri-Lee Harris.

You can often tell the glossy black cockatoos are around by the squeaking and cracking noise made while they are eating. Photo: Kerri-Lee Harris.

To date, the hotspots for observing glossy black cockatoos in the local region include Mt Ainslie, Mt Majura, Rob Roy Range Nature Reserve and the Burra area.

However, in recent years they have been seen in other areas such as Goorooyarroo, Gossan Hill, Pinnacle and Molonglo Gorge nature reserves.

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).

In reporting the sighting, try to include the location, the number of birds (including sex and age if known) and their behaviour at the time. Also try to photograph the birds, as even an image from a distance may be sufficient to confirm the identification.

“We would also appreciate sightings of the glossy black cockatoos feasting aftermath to be posted on these community platforms,” Mr Gentleman said.

For further information please go to the Canberra Nature Map or Atlas of Life websites.

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58 Responses to
Canberrans asked to help spot the threatened and messy glossy black cockatoo
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David Jenkins 5:43 pm 21 Jun 18

There's a lot of people here claiming they've seen Glossy Balcks, and large flocks of them, but I can guarantee that most of these sightings are of Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos, or even something else. There's no reason for them to be in pine forests, unlike Yellow-tails, because there's no food for them there and, unless there are casuarinas around, there's no food for them in the suburbs.. I do a lot of orienteering actually out in the bush, and i can tell you that I've seen some twice in almost forty years, both times feeding on casuarinas, their food source - once next to Tharwa and once east of Bungendore on The Sandhills. Which is not to say that there aren't more around than I've seen but there aren't the number that well-intentioned people are claiming here.

Claire Kelly 2:01 pm 21 Jun 18

Spotted a pair in Jerrabomberra this week 😊

Terry West 10:35 am 21 Jun 18

Just spotted a large flock circling around Casey then off toward Hall Village

Meg O'Leary 4:46 pm 19 Jun 18

I saw 4 of these beautiful cockatoos resting, eating and flying between the huge old pine trees at Monaro Park Horse Agistment last week. I've never seen this variety before, so took a good look at them, they were amazing!

Sarah ElizabethArtist 4:24 am 19 Jun 18

Saw a huge flock feeding at uriarra 2 weeks ago.

Roksteddy 12:59 pm 18 Jun 18

Most of the reported sightings listed here would be Yellow-tailed Blacks and not Glossy Blacks – especially if you are hearing them.

Olga Haydon 8:41 pm 17 Jun 18

Along Dryandra street O'connor.

Antoinette Hogan 8:20 pm 17 Jun 18

Been hearing them around flynn lately

Jessica Conroy 6:58 pm 17 Jun 18

I seen some flying over part of Dunlop a couple weeks ago. Also they come past springrange quite often usually I find when the weather is changing.

Bronwyn Parsons 6:32 pm 17 Jun 18

Joshua Kyle - seen any?

Selina Walmsley 5:48 pm 17 Jun 18

Fairbairn Forrest! I counted a flock flying over Pialligo Ave of 20+, there are so many of them!

Jacinta Anderson 5:38 pm 17 Jun 18

Theres a heap in coombs

Rob Jones 5:05 pm 17 Jun 18

Huge flock of 50 flew over me in evatt but they were the larger yellow-tails.

Ashley Loiterton 4:59 pm 17 Jun 18

Yep they are around Evatt and Spence area. Saw 4 fly over me this morning.

Chloe Letica 4:24 pm 17 Jun 18

I’ve seen them behind my place. Mount Jerrabomberra is a pretty common place for them to be seen. As is dodsworth.

Julie Williams 4:01 pm 17 Jun 18

I see black cockatoos in the trees across the road from me in Isabella Plains but can’t be sure if they are glossy black ones. Very pretty tho

Vee Churchill 1:22 pm 17 Jun 18

I've seen some in the bushland areas behind Aranda.

Rochelle Marshall 11:36 am 17 Jun 18

Saw them at Jerrabomberra wetlands ACT last weekend.

Jessica McQuade 10:26 am 17 Jun 18

I tried to report my sighting but the map is clunky and not accepting my input

Veronica Wright 9:52 am 17 Jun 18

Reading through the comments I think it would be helpful to have comparative pictures of / information about this bird and the yellowtail black cockatoo to avoid confusion. It sounds like the number seen in some areas must be the yellowtail one

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