The Glossy Black-Cockatoo loves the She-oaks of The Forest in the Tamborine Mountain Escarpment Protection Precinct; a good thing considering they’re such picky eaters and prefer so few plants.
Glossies are the smallest of Australia’s five black-cockatoos and are often confused with the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (which has more white dots spread across their entire body).
Glossies have a splash of red on the underside of their tails. Adult females have some yellow splashes around their head and neck, while the red on the tails of the adult males tend to be a very bright red.
Threats to the Glossy Black-Cockatoo
Glossy Black-Cockatoos are heavily reliant on a diet of Allocasuarinas for their survival. This very specific requirement may have contributed to their dwindling numbers, as land developments and farming have led to a loss of Allocasuarina tree species. Additionally, land clearing and more frequent and intense fires have led to not only a loss of food, but also a loss of suitable nesting tree hollows. This has further placed Glossy numbers at risk.
Species status of the Glossy Black-Cockatoo
In Queensland, the Calyptorhynchus lathami lathami, which can be found in the south-east corner of the State, north and eastern NSW and a little in Victoria, is considered vulnerable under Queensland’s Nature Conservation Act (NCA). It’s also considered vulnerable in NSW and threatened in Victoria.
What Glossy Black-Cockatoos eat
As mentioned, Glossies have a very specific diet, with the Black She-oak (Allocasuarina littoralis) and the Forest She-oak (Allocasuarina torulosa) being their preferred food. They also have a tendency of returning to the same food tree time and again, ignoring trees of the same kind around them.
The Tamborine Mountain Escarpment Protection Precinct is home to both the Black and Forest She-oaks and supports a small population of Glossy Black Cockatoos (including the two pictured – a father and daughter).
How Glossy Black-Cockatoos live
Glossies are tree hollow dwellers, liking large trees with decently sized hollows for breeding and general habitat. They form monogamous pairs to breed every two years, laying a single egg that they incubate for up to 90 days.
The Glossy Black-Cockatoo count
In the October 2014, the Glossy Black Conservancy held its annual birding day to count Glossy numbers. Observers recorded 4 birds in the Scenic Rim. These results were markedly lower than those from the previous year, where observers recorded 55 birds. (Note: The drop in the number of recorded birds may be the result of a decline in spotters from 40 in 2013 to 8 in 2014.
The need to protect remnant forest to retain both food and shelter for Glossy Black-Cockatoos is essential for the survival of these beautiful birds. The Forest of the Tamborine Mountain Escarpment Protection Precinct is one such place able to sustain Glossies, which is one of the many reasons why we’re fighting for its protection against an out-of-place development.
Terrific online resource dedicated to Glossies: Glossy Black Conservancy
Birds in Backyards: Glossy Black-Cockatoo
NSW Government Office of Environment & Heritage: Glossy black-cockatoo