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PALM COCKATOO PROJECT

APUDTHAMA

 © Filmed by C.N.Zdenek

Palm cockatoos (Probosciger aterrimus) are only found in Australia in the remote Cape York Peninsula. There are fewer than 2,000 believed to be living in the wild due to poor reproductive rates and habitat destruction fromland-clearing and climate change.

This iconic species has now been listed as endangered

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The Largest

The Palm Cockatoo is Australia's largest parrot by weight and can grow up to 65cm long. It has one of the largest bills of any parrot (only the hyacinth macaws is larger)

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Web PC sitting in hollowIMGL0814_©CNZ'14_LovebirdHlw_crop.jpg

The Lowest

The Palm Cockatoo has the lowest breeding success rates reported for any species of parrot. The female palm cockatoo only lays one egg every second year.

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The Rockatoo

Meet The Rockatoo!

The male palm cockatoo is a bit of a rockstar and has a knack for making "drumsticks" out of branches to bang out a beat on tree trunks - to mark territory and attract a mate!

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 Extreme bushfires are resulting in destruction of nesting hollows.

© Photo by C.N.Zdenek

The Palmy Housing Crisis

Due to the large size of the palm cockatoo they need very large nesting hollows that can only be accommodated in trees of around 300 years of age.
Creating rockatoo real estate is a
complex and slow process
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 First a tree trunk must be hollowed out by termites and fungi that entered the tree through a small fire scar.

Then, a
cyclone needs to twist the top of the tree off, exposing the centre of the trunk that slowly erodes away via rain. This creates a hollow large enough for palmies to nest in.

Because of this process, Palmy hollows are estimated to take more than 100 years to form. However, once the centre of the tree is gone it becomes more vulnerable to intense fires and strong winds. This means Palmy nesting real estate is hard to find and maintain in Cape York, and is also heavily fought over by the birds.
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Hollows are estimated to take over 100 years to form naturally.

© Photo by C.N.Zdenek

Palm Cockatoo Hollow on fire.jpg

The Palmy Housing Crisis

Due to the large size of the palm cockatoo they need very large nesting hollows that can only be accommodated in trees of around 300 years of age.
Creating rockatoo real estate is a
complex and slow process
termite.png
fungi.png
hurricane.png
 First a tree trunk must be hollowed out by termites and fungi that entered the tree through a small fire scar.

Then, a
cyclone needs to twist the top of the tree off, exposing the centre of the trunk that slowly erodes away via rain. This creates a hollow large enough for palmies to nest in.

Because of this process, Palmy hollows are estimated to take more than 100 years to form. However, once the centre of the tree is gone it becomes more vulnerable to intense fires and strong winds. This means Palmy nesting real estate is hard to find and maintain in Cape York, and is also heavily fought over by the birds.

What we are doing to help these incredible birds

People For Wildlife has partnered with palm cockatoo expert, Dr Christina N. Zdenek - who has been studying this species since 2008 and devoted 15 years to working with indigenous groups in Cape York.

We have successfully recieved  funding support from the Queensland Government's
Threatened Species Research Grant program (round 2) to enable us to begin the project and start filling knowledge gaps for applying palm cockatoo recovery and management.

This funding will be used to support Dr Zdenek’s important research.
We will conduct
nest site surveys, capture audio data of Palmy chatter to develop a call recogniser, and be install nest cameras - to record Palmy family life and to learn why nests fail.

To help with the rockatoo real estate crisis, we will 
cut fire breaks around nest trees and build artificial nesting hollows to create new homes. We will test three types of artificial hollows:  a resin-based option, a chainsaw carved option, and a tree-enhancement option.

Donate to the Palm Cockatoo Project and be part of The Palmy Army! 

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