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A study investigating factors associated with well-used Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo nocturnal roost sites

In WA Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos Calyptorhynchus latirostris are recognised as a species in need of special protection because they are rare or likely to become extinct under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1999. Landscape composition may play a vital role in the foraging and roosting habitat selection by Carnaby’s Cockatoos. The Swan Coastal Plain landscape needs to be able to sustain the current and future population of Carnaby’s Cockatoos during the non-breeding season. For many animals, communal roosting is an integral life-history trait, furthermore, roost selection can play a key role in their survival because of the implications it can have on a number of other life-history traits. Whilst there are studies that have researched communal roosting in different species of parrots, there is limited information on communal roosting in parrot species of Western Australia (WA). Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo is a threatened species that forms large nocturnal communal roosts, and for this reason they are an ideal model species to test some of the theories about the benefits of such behaviour. This species can also be used as a model to investigate what characteristics or factors may be associated with suitable roost sites. An understanding of the characteristics of communal roosts will provide managers with vital knowledge on how best to conserve this species. For this study, I will utilise data from a citizen science project, the Great Cocky Count, which provided data on the characteristics and roost flock sizes of known roost sites. The objectives of this study are to: 1) characterise the nocturnal roosting habitat of Carnaby’s in terms of the tree species and structural characteristics, roost site characteristics, and landscape characteristics, and, 2) develop a model of Carnaby’s cockatoo roosting habitat. With the help of the roosting habitat model that will be developed, this study will provide a deeper understanding of Carnaby’s roosting and habitat requirements.  Land-use decision-making will be informed by the outcomes of this study, to further aid in sustaining and conserving Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo.

Funding agency

Department of Parks and Wildlife, WA, and Edith Cowan University

Project duration

June 2014 - June 2016

Researchers

Ms Candice Le Roux, Master of Science (Biological Sciences) student

Supervisors

Professor William Stock
Dr Dave Blake
Dr Robert Davis
Department of Parks and Wildlife, Geoff Barrett

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