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Black Cockatoo Symposium

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Endangered Black Cockatoos in Western Australia Symposium

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The Urban Bushland Council organised the Endangered Black Cockatoo Symposium held on 26th November 2010 at Murdoch University as part of its celebration of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity. Speakers discussed the biology, natural history and threatened status of the birds.

Others outlined efforts underway to conserve them, through protection of habitat, provision of artificial nest hollows, revegetation and genetic studies. Several of the presentations provided data from monitoring and citizen science.

Download a copy of Endangered Black Cockatoos proceedings by clicking the link below:

 ISBN 978-0-646-55063-3 



The problem...

There is considerable community concern about the decline in populations of Black Cockatoos and the continuing loss of their habitat due to clearing of native vegetation in the Perth region and the south west of Western Australia.

This decline is continuing despite the listing of the three species of cockatoos – Carnaby’s, Baudin’s and the Forest Red-tailed Black – as endangered or vulnerable, and despite the existence of the State Government’s Recovery Plans, as well as land clearing regulations underpinned by a set of principles; one of which states ‘Native vegetation should not be cleared if it comprises the whole or part of, or is necessary for the maintenance of, a significant habitat for fauna indigenous to Western Australia’.

Over the past nine years researchers at the Western Australian Museum with support from the Water Corporation, Western Power, the Tourist Commission and a number of State and Local Government departments, community groups, volunteers and the general public have carried out important research into the breeding biology of Baudin’s Cockatoo, Carnaby’s Cockatoo  and the Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo. These cockatoos are endemic to the south-west corner of Western Australia and all have declined greatly over the past 50 years.

The current conservation status of Carnaby’s Cockatoo is listed as Endangered, and Baudin’s Cockatoo and the Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo are listed as Vulnerable, and these latter require their conservation status to be 'upgraded'.

Current Threats

The future survival of these cockatoos is of great concern. The impacts of climate change, alterations in the landscape,changing forest structure and the expansion of some native and exotic species that are competing with cockatoos are all having an adverse affect on cockatoo populations. Declining rainfall, for example, has already altered the foraging behaviour, distribution and, in some areas, migration patterns of cockatoos and will no doubt also influence breeding success.

On the Swan Coastal Plain about 90% of the original vegetation has been replaced by cities, towns, farms, vineyards,  orchards and industrial areas. In many areas the small patches of remnant bushland remaining are not in pristine condition. Furthermore, the entire structure of the adjacent Jarrah-Marri forest has been altered in the past 60–100 years.

Work on all three species of cockatoo has encompassed a range of conservation issues. These include the identification of threats, help with the establishment of recovery and management plans, the identification of critical habitat and an improved understanding of their breeding biology, movements and changes in distribution and status.

Key objectives

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1. Research the breeding biology, current distribution and ecological status of all three species and the threats to their
survival.
2. Document areas of critical habitat (breeding, roosting and feeding sites); also species ranges and changes in populations due to impacts of landclearing, nest competitors, fire and climate change.
3. Conduct targeted surveys for breeding, feeding and roosting sites in important sections of the south-west including northern Darling Range, Swan Coastal Plain, Whicher Range, Albany-Walpole region and Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge.
4. Provide information on habitat enhancement through habitat planting to help protect and restore native vegetation and terrestrial ecosystems and help with the design, installation and protocols for the installation of artificial nest boxes.

5. Increase public awareness of conservation issues related to black cockatoos and the importance of maintaining existing nest hollows especially veteran and stag trees and feeding habitats.
6. Assess the impact of introduced and invasive species including feral European honey bees, and Galahs and Corellas on cockatoo nest hollows and the development of effective eradication and control methods.