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Black cockatoos on the ECU Bunbury Campus

Tuesday, 01 December 2009


  • Black Cockatoo

    Black Cockatoo

A project was undertaken by Maree Weerheim and Will Stock to evaluate how important the ECU Bunbury Campus is for the ecology of black cockatoos in the region. Three species are known from the area and these include the forest red-tailed cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii naso), the long-billed white-tailed (Baudin’s) cockatoo (C. baudinii) and the short-billed (Carnaby’s) cockatoo (C. latirostris). All three species are protected under state legislation in WA. The Commonwealth EPBC Act lists Carnaby’s as Endangered and Baudin’s and Red-tailed cockatoos as Vulnerable and thus of very high conservation value. Baudin’s Cockatoo was the species most commonly recorded on the Bunbury campus with flocks ranging in size from 4 to 54 birds recorded almost every day over the study period. Carnaby’s Cockatoo and Forest Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo were recorded less frequently in smaller flocks of one or two pairs. The roosting area on the Bunbury campus is of great significance to the local population of black cockatoos, as it allows them to exploit feeding areas to the north, south and east of the campus. The campus also contains high quality breeding habitat because it contains both nest trees and abundant food; a combination that is essential for successful breeding in black cockatoos. Only half of the bushland surrounding ECU contains black cockatoo habitat of a quality comparable to the campus bushland. Any future removal of vegetation, particularly important roosting and breeding sites, from the campus could impact the cockatoo populations of the area. It is likely that some of the Baudin’s and Carnaby’s Cockatoos recorded on the ECU South West Campus represent a resident population that utilises the campus bushland year-round. If this is indeed the case, then the campus bushland and nearby remnant areas are of fundamental importance to these resident populations, especially if both Carnaby's and Baudin's Cockatoos are shown to breed in the area.

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