Future is glossy as record number of black-cockatoos hatch in single season

News article |

A record number of endangered glossy black-cockatoos have been banded on Kangaroo Island this nestling season.

Future is glossy as record number of black-cockatoos hatch in single season
Glossy black-cockatoo nestling.

A total of 49 newly hatched birds have been recorded by the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board Glossy black recovery team, the highest tally since banding began in the mid-1990s when their numbers had dipped to 158.

Project Officer Karleah Berris said it was an incredible result given the devastating loss of habitat after the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires that razed half the island.

“Before the fires, numbers of glossy black-cockatoos had reached 450 thanks to predator control and the installation of nesting boxes,” Ms Berris said. “Our team now believes there are about 420 of the birds, with their growth slowed by the loss of habitat.

“We had a really strong early start to the breeding season and that has continued to the point of almost reaching the 50-nestling mark. We would hope we can reach that figure in the coming years, which is really promising for the species.”

Each of the birds located in the island’s specially designed nest boxes have been banded with individual numbers in order to trace them throughout their lives.

Future is glossy as record number of black-cockatoos hatch in single season
Carefully removing a glossy black-cockatoo nestling from an artificial nest box.

Glossies raise only one chick per year and it is not yet known how long the Kangaroo Island subspecies typically live. The oldest banded bird is 25 and it’s suspected that like other cockatoos they often live for more than 35 years.

To assist in the bounceback of vegetation for the glossies to live and feed in, the KILB is planting areas of well-spaced sheoaks which will be able to produce seeds for the birds in under 10 years.

“Glossies only eat drooping sheoak seeds and the recovery team has planted almost 25,000 sheoaks across the island over about 50 hectares of land,” Ms Berris said. “In the fire recovery areas, the sheoak is rebounding thickly, in some places with up to 400 seedlings per square metre.

“Glossy black-cockatoos represent a truly conservation-dependent species whose survival is reliant on human management actions. The KILB knows what works, how to deliver it, and has monitored and reported the incredibly positive outcomes achieved through these actions.”

Media contact

Daniel Clarke
Communications and Media Coordinator
0407 771 072
dan.clarke@sa.gov.au

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