The Carnaby’s Cockatoo is a striking black cockatoo found exclusively in the south-west corner of Western Australia. It is listed as a nationally endangered species.
Sadly, the gradual destruction of their natural habitat had seen the number of Carnaby’s Cockatoos in WA decrease by at least 50% over the past 45 years. Now the Great Cocky Count of 2011 has produced the devastating news that their numbers have decreased even more – by one third compared to last year at roost sites across the Greater Swan Region.
Carnaby’s Cockatoos breed mainly in the inland agricultural areas, but spend from early summer to autumn nearer to the coast. Their main food source and roosting areas are on the Swan coastal plain in Banksia and Eucalypt woodland, including the Beeliar Wetland A drastic effect of Roe8 will be the loss of 79 hectares of Banksia woodland.
Carnaby’s have at least 12 known roosting sites within 6km of the planned highway.
To be useful a roosting site needs to be within 10-12km of foraging areas. We know that the wetlands are an important feeding area with flocks of up to 70 being seen there. BIbra and North lake reserves are key potential nesting sites for Carnaby Cockatoos in the metropolitan region. The bush to be cleared contains 249 potential nest trees – a valuable resource which may become crucial for them as remnant woodland continues to be lost elsewhere on the Swan plain.
Carnaby’s have a highly structured social order. They mate for life and return to the same areas to breed – usually the area where the female was hatched. During nesting the female does not forage. She and the chick are fed entirely by the male for at least 6 weeks and so are totally dependent. Having feeding areas within 20km, preferably 12km, is critical to breeding success.
The clearing of Banksia woodland at Fiona Stanley Hospital and at Jandakot Airport has already reduced the available feeding areas. These magnificent birds need our help to save their remaining habitat.