Animal Diaries Archive
What a sight while in flight!
25 April 2008
Have you ever been lucky enough to see a Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo in flight? It is an amazing sight. I can still remember the first time I saw a flock flying over the Fitzroy River as a child.
Every day our bird show team has the pleasure of working with seven beautiful Red-tailed black Cockatoo’s with Euli our only male in the flock. They are all at different stages of training but you are able to see Kari, Star and Euli in our free flight bird show. It is a must see when visiting the Zoo.
In Australia we have five subspecies of Red- tailed Black Cockatoo and they can be seen in many parts of Australia. If you are looking for the South-eastern Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo though, it is only found in south-east South Australia and south- west Victoria. With an estimated population of about 1000 birds this subspecies is in danger of extinction due the clearing for agriculture of the tree’s that the cockatoo’s feed and nest in.
The survival of the endangered bird now largely rests with the private landholders who manage about 30 per cent of the south-eastern Red -tailed Black Cockatoo’s remaining habitat. Also their potential nest trees are being lost to firewood usage or are simply falling down with old age. This problem would be reduced if there had been regeneration of seedlings to replace them, but invariably the surrounding land use has been grazing, which has prevented this.
Every year the female Red-tail Black Cockatoo begins her search for a place to build a nest. She seeks out a large hollow tree, often a red gum, in which to lay a single egg. So what can we do to help these beautiful birds? We can start by planting Australian native trees in our forests, parks, gardens and your own backyard. They feed on Banksias, Eucalyptus, Acacias, Casuarinas, Hakeas and also like the introduced Radiata Pine.
We also need to encourage regeneration and re-establishing stands of these trees on farm lands, particularly where land has been cleared for crops. A way of doing this is planting on the edges of the properties and urban fringes. We can also leave old hollow branches and logs on trees for the birds to nest in and leave dead trees on farms and forests wherever possible as they are essential elements of a healthy habitat for many of Australia’s wildlife.
So please plant native trees when ever you can to protect our old growth forest because it is very important to our beautiful Australian Red-tailed Black Cockatoo.