In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.
|EPBC Act Listing Status||Listed as Endangered as Calyptorhynchus latirostris|
|Recovery Plan Decision||
Recovery Plan required, included on the Commenced List (1/11/2009).
|Adopted/Made Recovery Plans||
Carnaby's Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) Recovery Plan (Western Australia Department of Parks and Wildlife (WA DPaW), 2013) [Recovery Plan] as Calyptorhynchus latirostris.
|Other EPBC Act Plans||
Threat Abatement Plan for Beak and Feather Disease Affecting Endangered Psittacine Species (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2005q) [Threat Abatement Plan].
|Policy Statements and Guidelines||
Referral guidelines for three species of Western Australian black cockatoos (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012p) [Admin Guideline].
Survey Guidelines for Australia's Threatened Birds. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.2 (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2010l) [Admin Guideline].
Federal Register of
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument] as Calyptorhynchus latirostris.
Documents and Websites
|State Listing Status||
|Non-statutory Listing Status||
|Scientific name||Calyptorhynchus latirostris |
|Other names||Calyptorhynchus funereus latirostris |
This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.
Other Common names: Mallee Cockatoo, White-tailed Cockatoo, Black-Cockatoo or Slender-billed Black-Cockatoo (Higgins 1999; Sibley & Monroe 1990).
The taxonomy of this species is conventionally accepted (Christidis & Boles 1994; Saunders 1979; Sibley & Monroe 1990).
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo and the closely-related Baudin's Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus baudinii were formerly combined and treated as a single species, the White-tailed Black-Cockatoo, which was assigned the scientific name C. baudinii (Higgins 1999; Saunders 1979).
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo is a large cockatoo that in adult form measures 53 to 58 cm in length, with a wingspan of approximately 110 cm, and a mass of 520 to 790 g. It is mostly brownish-black or greyish-black in colour but has narrow off-white margins on the feathers; a large patch over the ear coverts that is off-white or cream to brownish-white in males and yellowish-white (and slightly larger) in females; and broad white panels in the tail. It has a large bill that is black or greyish-black in males and off-white to greyish white with a black tip in females. The bill has a flaky texture. In both sexes the iris is dark brown or reddish-brown but the ring of skin that surrounds the eye is bright pink in males and grey or dark grey in females. In males, the legs and feet are grey or brownish to greyish-black with paler soles that may occasionally be tinged pinkish. In females, the legs and feet are typically paler and generally range from grey to light grey with a varying pink tinge, though, in the palest females, the legs and feet may be wholly pink or brownish-pink, and, in the darkest females, the legs and feet may be coloured like those of the male (Higgins 1999; Johnstone & Storr 1998).
Juvenile birds are very similar in appearance to the adult female but are best distinguished by the harsh rasping calls that are emitted continuously when begging for food; the narrower and more pointed shape of the folded primaries; and the smooth (as opposed to flaky) texture of the bill. By early in the second year immature males can be distinguished from juvenile and adult birds by their bicoloured bill (in some birds, the upper mandible may appear dark and the lower mandible pale) but it is not known when the adult bill-colour is attained. Immature females appear like adult females from early in the second year (Higgins 1999).
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo is gregarious. It is usually seen in groups of three or in small parties but will occasionally congregate in large flocks comprised of hundreds or, exceptionally, thousands of birds. During the breeding season, adults nest as solitary pairs (Higgins 1999). It sometimes associates with Baudin's Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus baudinii or the Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo C. banksii at sites where food is abundant (Higgins 1999; Saunders 1974b).
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo is endemic to, and widespread in, the south-west of Western Australia. It occurs mostly in the wheatbelt, in areas that receive between 300 and 750 mm of rainfall annually, but is also found in wetter regions in the extreme south-west (including the Swan Coastal Plain, and the southern coast). Its range extends from Cape Arid to Kalbarri, and inland to Hatter Hill, Gibb Rock, Narembeen, Noongar, Wongan Hills, Nugadong, near Perenjori, Wilroy and Nabawa. Most records are from south of 29° S and west of 120° E (Barrett et al. 2003a; Saunders 1974b, 1979c; Saunders & Ingram 1995; Saunders et al. 1985; Storr 1987, 1991; Storr & Johnstone 1998).
The species has also been recorded north to the lower Murchison River and east to Waadi Forest, Nugadong, Manmanning, Durokoppin, Lake Cronin, Ravensthorpe Range, head of Oldfield River, 20 km east-south-east of Coondingup. It is also occasionally seen on Rottnest Island (Johnstone et al. 2006).
Breeding mainly occurs in the wheatbelt, from the Stirling Ranges north-west to near Three Springs, but has also been recorded on the coastal plain to the south-west, around Bunbury (Higgins 1999; Saunders 1974b). There are several small resident populations on the northern Swan Coastal Plain at Boonanarring, Mooliabeenee and Yanchep National Park and on the southern Swan Coastal Plain at Lake Clifton (50100 pairs), also near Bunbury and probably at Baldivis. At each of these sites the birds forage in remnant bushland and in adjacent pine plantations (Johstone et al. 2008). Vagrants have been recorded at Norseman (Whitlock 1937), and three birds were recorded on Rottnest Island between December 1988 and January 1989 (Higgins 1999; Winnett 1989).
The extent of occurrence is estimated at 32 000 km² based on BirdLife International GIS. This estimate is considered to be of medium reliability (Garnett & Crowley 2000).
The range of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo is said to have contracted by more than 30% since the late 1940s (Mawson 1997). The species is also said to have disappeared from more than a third of its former breeding range between 1968 and 1990 (Saunders & Ingram 1998). These statements probably refer more to changes in the area of occupancy, and to declines in population sizes at some sites (e.g. Coomallo Creek, Three Springs) within the known range (see below), than to a reduction in the extent of occurrence. However, maps published in Saunders (1990), and Saunders and Ingram (1991) indicate that the extent of occurrence did decline at the eastern limits of the range, between 1968 and 1987. A comparison between the maps published in Saunders (1990), and Saunders and Ingram (1991), and a distribution map based on recent records (see above) suggests that the extent of occurrence has remained stable during the past 15 to 20 years.
No specific information is available on future changes in the extent of occurrence, though it is likely that the contraction in range will continue for some time (Saunders et al. 1985), as for example, a significant amount of important feeding habitat on the Swan Coastal Plain is under threat from expanding urban and semi-urban development (J. Blyth 2005, pers. comm.).
The area of occupancy is estimated at 2000 km² (based on the number of 1 km² grid squares that the species is thought to occur in at the time when its population is most constrained). This estimate is considered to be of low reliability (Garnett & Crowley 2000).
The area of occupancy has declined in recent years, with its reduction in range (e.g. it was extinct at Manmanning by 1977) (Saunders 1986). Large numbers of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo visited and bred in the Tammin district prior to 1940, but the species has become locally extinct in this region since then (Saunders & Ingram 1995).
No specific information is available on future changes in the area of occupancy (Saunders et al. 1985).
No specific information is available on the number of locations at which Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo occurs. This is because the mobility and widespread distribution of the species makes it difficult to determine the number, or even to apply the concept, of discrete locations. The best description may be that Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo is distributed throughout a single fragmented location in the south-west of Western Australia (J. Blyth December 2005, pers. comm.).
A captive breeding program was established in 1996 by the Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM), in association with licensed aviculturists and the Perth Zoo. Staff from CALM collected eggs and nestlings from the wild, and these were then given to, and reared by, licensed aviculturists to develop a captive population that continues to be maintained today (Cale 2003; CALM 1999; Mawson 1997). The genetic diversity of the captive population is enhanced by a 'derelict' program that rehabilitates birds injured in the wild and then incorporates them into the captive breeding stock (Cale 2003).
Prior to the introduction of the captive program, which provided some birds for sale to licensed aviculturists (Mawson 1997), it was estimated that approximately 400 birds were held in private collections in Australia (Garnett 1993).
In addition, small numbers of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo are held in eight zoos or institutions world-wide, including Perth Zoo, Adelaide Zoo and Taronga Zoo (Sydney) in Australia (ISIS 2005a).
There have been no formal population re-introductions, nor are any proposed (the mobility of the species will presumably allow birds to occupy areas of new or rehabilitated habitat as they become available). Rehabilitated birds are released into the wild if possible (J. Blyth 2005, pers. comm.).
The habitat of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo became severely fragmented during the 20th century due to the clearance of native woodlands, shrublands and heathlands for agricultural purposes. Today, much of the remaining habitat occurs only in remnant patches, although some of these patches are quite large (e.g. Stirling Range National Park and some other large, mainly coastal, reserves) (J. Blyth 2005, pers. comm.; Saunders 1979b, 1980, 1986, 1990; Saunders & Ingram 1987, 1995, 1998). The ongoing fragmentation of habitat, especially on the Swan Coastal Plain, is more likely to cause a decline in the size of the total population (due to a reduction in the amount of feeding habitat), than the extinction of small populations (J. Blyth 2005, pers. comm.).
The lack of systematic surveys from throughout the range of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo makes it difficult to assess the accuracy of estimates of total population size. However, the species has been subject to monitoring at several breeding locations: at Coomallo Creek, from 1969 to 1996 (Saunders 1986; Saunders & Ingram 1998); at Manmanning, from 1969 to 1978; at Three Springs, from 1974 to 1980; and at Tarwonga, during 1969 and 1970 (Saunders 1986). These studies provide some information on sizes and/or trends of local populations.
Observations of Carnaby's Black Cockatoo have been made in the Western Suburbs of Perth Since 1981. A more formal survey also conducted in the Western Suburbs of Perth was undertaken from April 2006 to April 2007 (Berry 2008).
The distribution of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo has been mapped by several authors (Barrett et al. 2003; Saunders 1974b, 1979c; Saunders & Ingram 1995); and a collection of recent, unpublished records are maintained in the Atlas of Australian Birds. Given the data available, and the fact that Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo is readily detectable, it is likely that the distribution of known records closely approximates the actual distribution of the species.
Based on the distribution of birds during the breeding season, the total population of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo has been estimated at between 11 000 and 60 000 birds (Saunders et al. 1985). Garnett and Crowley (2000) consider an estimate of 60 000 breeding birds to be of medium reliability. However, it has also been claimed that the population could possibly number less than 10 000 birds (Mawson & Johnstone 1997).
The loss and degradation of large areas of habitat during the latter half of the 20th century may have divided the total population of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo into three to five subpopulations, these occurring in the northern wheatbelt, the upper part of the southern wheatbelt, the south-east wheatbelt, and along the coast around Esperance (Garnett & Crowley 2000).
Based on the above information, Garnett and Crowley (2000) estimated that there were four subpopulations. They considered this estimate to be of low reliability due to uncertainty about the number of subpopulations and the degree of genetic isolation between the proposed subpopulations. The largest subpopulation was estimated to consist of 20 000 breeding birds. This estimate was considered to be of medium reliability (Garnett & Crowley 2000). No information is available on the size of the other subpopulations, or on trends in numbers in any of the subpopulations.
Population size declined during the latter half of the 20th century and continues to decrease today. Data from direct counts, estimates of the number of breeding females, and declines in the area of occupancy and quality of habitat indicate that the population declined by at least 50% over the past three generations (=45 years) (Garnett & Crowley 2000).
At Coomallo Creek, in the northern wheatbelt, the number of breeding attempts recorded each year fell from approximately 80 attempts in 1974 and 1975 to less than 40 attempts in 1994 and 1996 (Saunders & Ingram 1998). This suggests that the breeding population may have declined by approximately 50% over the period of study. At Three Springs, observations made during the period 1974-1980 indicated that the local breeding population was declining and approaching extinction (Saunders 1986). However, due to a lack of further published data from this locality, the present status of the population at Three Springs is not known.
Other local breeding populations have become extinct. At Manmanning, the breeding population consisted of an average of 13 pairs between 1969 and 1976 (Saunders 1980), but the population declined over this period (1969-1976) and was extinct by 1977 (Saunders 1986). In the Tammin district, prior to 1940, large numbers of cockatoos visited the sandplains and bred in Wandoo (Eucalyptus wandoo). The species has since become locally extinct within the region (Saunders & Ingram 1995).
No specific information is available on future changes in population size. However, it is thought that the range of the species will continue to contract for some time (Saunders et al. 1985), leading to a concomitant decline in population size.
The generation length is estimated at 15 years (Cale 2003; Garnett & Crowley 2000). This estimate is considered to be of medium reliability (estimate based on life history data for related taxa in a similar environment) (Garnett & Crowley 2000).
No specific information is available on which populations are most important to the recovery effort (Garnett & Crowley 2000). The largest subpopulation, consisting of approximately 20 000 breeding birds (Garnett & Crowley 2000), is likely to be the most important to the long-term survival of the species.
There have been no published records of cross-breeding between Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo and any other species.
Since 1998, the Atlas of Australian Birds has recorded Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo in 66 reserves (n=282 records). Of these, cockatoos are most commonly recorded in Torndirrup National Park (14.2% of records), Forrestdale Lake Nature Reserve (11.7%), Stirling Range National Park (11.0%), Fitzgerald River National Park (7.1%), Yanchep National Park (6.7%) and Jandabup Nature Reserve (5.0%) (Atlas of Australian Birds, unpublished data).
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo mainly occurs in uncleared or remnant native eucalypt woodlands, especially those that contain Salmon Gum (Eucalyptus salmonophloia) and Wandoo (E. wandoo), and in shrubland or kwongan heathland dominated by Hakea, Dryandra, Banksia and Grevillea species. It is a seasonal visitor to plantations of exotic pines (Pinus spp.), and sometimes occurs in forests containing Marri (Corymbia calophylla), Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) or Karri (E. diversicolor) (Nichols & Nichols 1984; Saunders 1974a, 1974b, 1979c, 1980, 1982, 1986; Sedgwick 1968, 1973).
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo occurs in uncleared or remnant native eucalypt woodlands, especially those that contain Salmon Gum and Wandoo, and in shrubland or kwongan heathland dominated by Hakea, Dryandra, Banksia and Grevillea species. It also occurs in remnant patches of native vegetation on land otherwise cleared for agriculture (Saunders 1974b, 1979c, 1980, 1982, 1986). The species is a seasonal visitor to pine plantations in areas that receive high rainfall (Davies 1966; Saunders 1974a; Sedgwick 1968, 1973), and is a less frequent visitor to forests containing Marri, Jarrah or Karri (Nichols & Nichols 1984; Saunders 1980). It is occasionally recorded in casuarina woodlands, or in 'mallee country' (Carnaby 1933; Nichols & Nichols 1984), and is sometimes seen in towns or on roadside verges (Sedgewick 1973, Saunders 1979c, 1980). It is also a conspicuous visitor to gardens around Perth that contain native plants with hard fruits (J. Blyth 2005, pers. comm.).
Breeding habitat (or sites) encompasses those areas that contain suitable nest trees within the range of the species. Breeding activity is restricted to eucalypt woodlands mainly in the semiarid and subhumid interior (records from Three Springs District south to the Stirling Range, west to Cockleshell Gully and east to Manmanning). However, judging from breeding records in the Storr-Johnstone Bird Data Bank, this species is currently expanding its breeding range westward and south into the Jarrah-Marri forests of the Darling Scarp and into the Tuart forests of the Swan Coastal Plain (Johnstone et al. 2006), including Yanchep area, Lake Clifton and near Bunbury (Johnstone et al. 2008).
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo nests in large hollows in tall, living or dead eucalypts. It nests most commonly in smooth-barked Wandoo and Salmon Gum, but birds have also been recorded breeding in Red Morrell (E. longicornis), York Gum (E. loxophleba), Tuart (E. gomphocephala), Flooded Gum (E. rudis), Swamp Yate (E. occidentalis), Gimlet (E. salubris) and Marri, and are said to nest in any species of eucalypt with a suitable hollow (Cale 2003; Carnaby 1933; Orton & Sandland 1913; Saunders 1979b, 1979c, 1980; Storr 1991). Suitable hollows can take from 120150 years to develop (Pittman et. al. 2007). The size of the tree (measured as the diameter at breast height, DBH) is a good indication of the hollow-bearing potential of the tree (Whitford 2002). Trees approaching 680 mm DBH are close to developing suitable hollows. Trees smaller than 680 mm DBH are considered to have the potential to develop hollows and are therefore also important resources for Carnaby's Black Cockatoos. Nests are usually placed in the dominant species in the area, but there are exceptions. For example, at Tarwonga, birds breeding in woodland dominated by Marri prefer to nest in Wandoo. This is due to the relative scarcity of suitable nesting hollows in Marri trees (Saunders 1979b). Recent trials have shown that birds will breed readily in restored or artificial hollows (J. Blyth 2005, pers. comm.).
Foraging habitat is that habitat used by the species for feeding (during or outside of the breeding season). During the breeding season, Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo mainly forages in native vegetation, and particularly in proteaceous shrubs in kwongan heathlands, which occur on the sandplains that surround woodlands used for breeding. It occasionally forages in Marri forests, and may also seek food in or near altered habitat. For example, cockatoos feed on wild geranium Erodium growing in pasture and on road or rail verges, and also forage in remnant native vegetation along roadsides (Saunders 1977, 1979a, 1980, 1986; Saunders et al. 1985). It is thought that the foraging habitat within 20 km of breeding sites is one of the key factors in ensuring successful breeding (Cale 2003). However, a minimum amount of foraging habitat required for successful breeding is not defined.
In the breeding areas, foraging habitat typically occurs on the sandplains surrounding the woodlands used for breeding. Extensive fragmentation of foraging habitat within the breeding areas means that birds are forced to fly extended distances to find food. The increased travel time and energetic costs to reach foraging habitat means that less food is delivered to the young, particularly when day-time temperatures are higher. When insufficient food is available, or when it is far from the nesting area, chicks may die in the nest or have developmental impairments (e.g. low fledging weight which leads to juvenile deaths) (Saunders 1990). The provision of corridors of vegetation linking breeding areas to patches of foraging habitat are essential to allow birds to move between isolated patches, and for successful breeding (Saunders 1977, 1990).
Carnaby's black-cockatoos will traverse open space but may not use forage resources isolated from roosting habitat by long stretches of cleared agricultural land. Saunders and Ingram (1995) describe a lack of connectivity between patches as "strongly implicated in the failure of Carnaby's cockatoo to survive in heavily cleared and fragmented rural landscapes". Movement corridors with breaks of less than 4 km between other foraging, movement corridors, breeding and roosting sites are therefore important to allow the birds to move between these areas.
During the non-breeding season, Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo often forages in pine plantations (Saunders 1974a, 1979a, 1980; Sedgwick 1968, 1973). It sometimes feeds in seeding Marri, and occasionally in almond trees (Saunders 1974a, 1979c, 1980, 1982; Whitlock 1939). Heathland vegetation, as used during the breeding season, may also be exploited during the non-breeding period (Saunders 1980). It is thought that at least some populations remain within 50 km of their breeding habitat throughout the year (Cale 2003).
During the non-breeding season, when most of the cockatoos are on the coastal plains, they roost in tall native or introduced eucalypts, and occasionally in Marri and pines. Species known to be used for roosting include Flat-topped Yate (E. occidentalis), Salmon Gum, Wandoo, Karri (E. diversicolor), Blackbutt (E. patens), Tuart (E. gomphocephala), Blue Gum (E. globulous, introduced), Pinus radiata and P. pinaster.
Roosting sites allow birds to access the local food and water resources, as well as providing a protected place to rest for the night. Birds typically leave the roost in the early morning, calling raucously as they stir and begin to move about. They will spend the day moving between foraging sites before returning to the roost site each night for approximately 46 weeks. Roost sites may be repeatedly used over multiple years. Communal roosting may also facilitate important social interactions not occurring during other times of the year, such as mate selection in unpaired birds (Johnstone & Kirkby 2008).
Counts of traditional roost sites in Hollywood in the Perth Metropolitan area showed that numbers were lowest from August to October (when most birds are at their breeding areas) after which they steadily increased to a maximum in March before declining again (Berry 2008). These patterns of movement and congregation during the non-breeding season appear similar for the Swan Coastal Plain area, with the greatest numbers occurring on the northern Swan Coastal Plain between Perth and Lancelin (Johnstone & Kirkby 2007).
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo sometimes associates with Baudin's Black-Cockatoo at sites where food is abundant (Higgins 1999; Saunders 1974b). Baudin's Black-Cockatoo is listed as Vulnerable under the EPBC Act 1999.
No published information is available on the occurrence of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo within a threatened ecological community or communities. However, the distribution and habitat preferences of the species suggest that it could potentially occur in several communities on the Swan Coastal Plain that are recognised as threatened, either by the EPBC Act 1999 or in Western Australia. For example, Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo would almost certainly sometimes occur in Banksia attenuata woodland over species rich dense shrublands (classified as Endangered in Western Australia), Marri-Kingia australis woodlands on heavy soils and Marri-Xanthorrhoea preisii woodlands and shrublands (both of which are classified as Critically Endangered in Western Australia, and as Endangered under the EPBC Act 1999), and Marri-Jarrah woodlands on sandy clay soils (classified as Vulnerable by CALM) (J. Blyth 2005, pers. comm.).
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo does not breed until at least four years of age (Saunders 1982, 1986). This suggests that the species is long-lived. Data from marked females indicate that birds can live for at least 21 years (Higgins 1999). However, they are said to be capable of surviving for up to 60 years (Jupp 1996). Data from Coomallo Creek and Manmanning show that the annual survival of adults varies between 60.6% and 69.0%. The annual survival of juvenile birds from Coomallo Creek was 14.8% in the first year, 55.2% in the second year and 53.8% in the third year (Saunders 1982).
Adult birds pair for life, and remain together throughout the year. At the end of the breeding season pairs and their offspring form foraging flocks and move towards the coast. At the start of the next breeding season the adults return to their traditional nesting areas. Some breeding pairs show very high fidelity to nesting hollows, with one pair observed to return to the same hollow ten out of eleven years (Saunders & Ingram 1998). Carnaby's Black Cockatoo lays eggs from July or August to October or November, with most clutches being laid in August and September (Saunders 1986). Birds in inland regions may begin laying up to three weeks earlier than those in coastal areas (Saunders 1977).
Nesting hollows may be located anywhere from 2 m to more than 10 m from ground. Hollows range in depth from 0.1 m to more than 2.5 m (Saunders 1979c) with a mean of 1.24 m (Saunders et al. 2014a). Mean entrance diameter of nests is 270 mm and the mean floor diameter is 407 mm (Saunders et al. 2014a). The eggs are laid among wood dust at the base of the hollow (Johnstone & Storr 1998). Nesting attempts in shallow hollows (<400 mm) were less successful than those in deeper hollows (>1000 mm) (Saunders et al. 2014a). Breeding females returned to the same hollow they used previously, provided they had been successful in the previous breeding attempt and the hollow was not occupied (Saunders et al. 2014a). A study of 252 large hollow-bearing trees between 1969-2013 showed 40% of trees had fallen or been pushed over, had been burnt deliberately or by wildfire, or had been damaged such that they were no longer suitable for use by the cockatoos; an average annual loss rate of 0.91% (Saunders et al. 2014a). Based on this rate of loss, only 29% of large hollow-bearing trees standing in 2013 will be extant in 2125 and not all of these can be expected to offer useable nest hollows (Saunders et al. 2014a).
The breeding of Carnaby's Cockatoo has been studied from 1969 to 2012 at a number of localities throughout its range (Saunders et al. 2014). Clutch-size is two eggs or, more rarely, one. In two-egg clutches, the interval between laying of the first and second eggs ranges from one to 16 days (Saunders 1982). The eggs are white or creamy white in colour, and have no markings (Saunders 1982; Storr & Johnstone 1998). They are incubated by the female only, for a period of 28 to 29 days (Saunders 1982). Nestlings are brooded by the female and fed by both parents, although for the first 10 to 14 days after hatching young are fed entirely by the female (Saunders 1977, 1982). During this period, the abundance and quality of food within flying distance becomes critical (Davies & Loomes 2002). Where food is abundant and easy to find, nestlings are brooded continuously for about two weeks, after which the female begins to leave them for progressively longer periods to forage with her mate. By about three weeks, the female broods only at night, returning at mid-morning and dusk to feed the nestling. However, where food is scarce or hard to find, the female must leave the nestling earlier and for longer periods (Saunders 1977). There is a significant negative relationship between the health of nestlings and percentage loss of native vegetation around nest hollows (Saunders et al. 2014) and a strong but not significant negative relationship between nesting success and percentage loss of native vegetation within 6 and 12 km of nest hollows (Saunders et al. 2014). While both eggs hatch in 77% of two-egg clutches, the species normally fledges only one young. Sets of siblings are usually the product of older, more experienced females nesting in areas where more native vegetation has been retained (Saunders et al. 2014). Field observations have shown that breeding males will travel up to 12 km to a feeding site when it is connected to a breeding area by a corridor, only around 6 km to a feeding site separated by open fields (Saunders 1977, 1990). The young depart the nest 10–12 weeks after hatching (Saunders 1977; Smith & Saunders 1986) and remain with the parents until the following breeding season, or occasionally longer (Saunders 1982).
Data on breeding success are available only for populations at Coomallo Creek and Manmanning. At Coomallo Creek, of 482 nests observed between 1970 and 1976, 312 (64.7%) nests successfully fledged at least one young. At Manmanning, of 102 nests observed between 1970 and 1976, 36 (35.3%) nests successfully fledged at least one young. The lower breeding success at Manmanning was thought to be due to differences in food availability. At Manmanning, the foraging habitat was highly fragmented, and this forced the breeding birds to alter several aspects of their foraging behaviour: the birds travelled longer distances for food, females foraged during the brooding period (brooding was continuous at Coomallo Creek), and birds were often absent from nests between dawn and dusk (adults at Coomallo Creek visited nests throughout the day) (Saunders 1982).
The health of nestlings was also affected, with growth rates lower at Manmanning than at Coomallo Creek (Saunders 1982).
At both locations, two-egg clutches were more likely to produce nestlings than one-egg clutches. Differences in fledging success between one-egg and two-egg clutches were attributed to the differences in hatching success. Most of the two-egg clutches produced two nestlings, but the second nestling usually died within 48 hours of hatching. For example, at Coomallo Creek, the second nestling survived for three days or more in only 11 of 222 nests in which both eggs hatched (i.e. 5.0%). Very few two-egg clutches were successful in fledging both young (Saunders 1982).
Females occasionally re-lay, in a different hollow, after losing eggs or small nestlings. One female laid a total of three clutches after her first two attempts ended in failure (Saunders 1982).
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo feeds mainly on seeds and occasionally on other items such as nectar, fruit and insect larvae. Carnaby's Black-Cockatoos have learned to use introduced plant species, such as pine trees and weed seeds which are now important resources in areas that have been largely cleared of native vegetation. Seeds are taken from a variety of native and introduced plants including species of Banksia, Carya, Casuarina, Dryandra, Emex, Erodium, Eucalyptus, Grevillea, Hakea, Isopogon, Lambertia, Liquidambar, Lupinus, Pinus, Prunus and Raphanus (Bremner 1996a; Cale 2003; Cooper et al. 2002; Higgins 1999; Kenneally 2002; Mawson 1995; Saunders 1974a, 1974b, 1980; Stojanovik 2008). Fruit is taken from Brassia actinophylla (Bremner 1996b), and nectar from the flowers of Callistemon viminalis (Mawson 1995).
Birds are also attracted to and have been seen feeding upon Banksia, Callistemon, Dryandra, Eucalyptus, Grevillea and Lambertia species (Johnstone & Storr 1998; Mawson 1995; Saunders 1980; Storr 1991). At least some of these observations are likely to refer to feeding on nectar, though some insect larvae are probably taken from flowers also (Saunders 1980; van Leeuwen & Lamont 1996). Animal prey consists of insect larvae, including the larvae of moths (e.g. Arthrophora) and weevils (e.g. Alphitopis nivea) (Saunders 1980; Scott & Black 1981).
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoos are mostly arboreal but often come to ground to feed on fallen fruits and seeds (Higgins 1999). Fruits are removed from large trees such as pines and Marri by chewing through the stems of the fruits with the bill. Once a fruit is secured it is held in the bill while the bird adopts an upright position and the fruit is then clutched by a foot whilst the seeds are removed (Saunders 1974a). Marri fruits are broken open at the rim so that the seeds can be removed (Cooper 2000; Saunders 1974b). Pine cones are torn from trees and grasped in one foot while the bracts are torn off with the bill. The seeds are then extracted from the cone. The wings and inner tissue are removed from the seed, and the kernel is swallowed (Perry 1948). Birds in pine plantations begin foraging in trees at the plantation margins, and then work their way towards the centre of the plantation. They then move to ground to feed from fallen cones when the cones in trees become scarce (Saunders 1974a). There is also evidence to suggest that birds will return to plantations to feed on cones that were unripe when originally knocked to ground but that have since dried and opened to release their seeds (J. Blyth 2005, pers. comm.).
Nectar is taken from flowers of Callistemon viminalis. If an inflorescence is accessible, the tongue is inserted into each flower; if the inflorescence cannot be accessed by this method, it is severed with the bill and held in one foot whilst each flower is probed with the tongue (Mawson 1995). Insect larvae are taken from the fruiting cones of Banksia attenuata (Scott & Black 1981). Insect larvae are probably also taken from the fruits or flowers of other plant species such as Banksia tricuspis and Dryandra cirsioides (Saunders 1980; van Leeuwen & Lamont 1996).
Canola foraging by Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo has been reported foraging Canola (Brassica rapa subsp. silvestris), however, the impact of this on the crop is negligible. Jackson (2009) showed that an average 0.003% of each farmer's crop was damaged and suggested that future damage is unlikely to be a significant problem for canola growers in the future. Galahs (Eolophus roseicapillus), Corellas (Cacatua) and Australian Ringnecks (Barnardius zonarius) were shown to cause a far greater level of damage to Canola (Jackson 2009).
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo is partly resident and partly migratory (Davies 1966; Saunders & Ingram 1995; Storr & Johnstone 1988). The species is said to be resident in high-rainfall areas that retain much native vegetation; and to be a breeding migrant in drier regions (Saunders & Ingram 1995) and at sites where most of the native vegetation has been cleared (e.g. Manmanning) (Saunders 1980). Populations that breed in drier areas of the range arrive at breeding localities in late winter and spring. Once their summer breeding is complete, the birds move into areas of high rainfall, a behaviour which gave rise to the name 'rain bird' (Saunders & Ingram 1995).
For example, birds breeding in Badgingarra, Dandaragan and Moora regions tend to move west, after breeding, into higher rainfall areas especially near coastal Banksia scrubs (e.g. at Wanagarren Nature Reserve, Nilgen Nature Reserve and Yanchep area) then south onto the southern Swan Coastal Plan including the Perth Metropolitan area, Lake Clifton and Myalup (Johnstone et al. 2006). The species may be an occasional visitor to some locations such as Norseman (Higgins 1999; Whitlock 1937). Records of vagrants at Rottnest Island (Higgins 1999; Winnett 1989) indicate that birds are capable of crossing stretches of water.
At Coomallo Creek, birds abandon breeding sites shortly after breeding and congregate in foraging flocks which then disperse into surrounding areas. These flocks wander locally during the non-breeding season (January to July). They concentrate around water courses during dry conditions in the early part of the season, and then forage more widely once the rains begin in April. Foraging flocks are said to remain within 50 km of breeding sites but the sighting of one marked immature bird 154 km from the breeding area suggests that some birds (possibly only juveniles) may disperse more widely (Saunders 1977, 1980).
Populations located south of Coomallo Creek move towards the coast during the non-breeding season. Prior to their local extinction, birds from Manmanning migrated south-west after the breeding season to forage in heathlands and pine plantations on the northern part of the Swan Coastal Plain. Most birds departed Manmanning by late December or early January, and the first birds to reach non-breeding sites arrived soon after in mid January. For example, marked birds were first seen at Yanchep Swamp in mid January. Birds remained in coastal areas, more than 50 km from Manmanning, for the duration of the non-breeding season (Saunders 1977, 1980). Some birds returned to Manmanning by late August, though others were still present at non-breeding sites at this time (Saunders 1980). At Moora, after the breeding season, birds depart in November or early December and move toward the coastal sandplain before returning to Moora again after the first rains (Orton & Sandlands 1913). Populations located east of Albany are said to move west during summer and apparently arrive in the extreme south-west of Western Australia from March to May (Davies 1966).
At the non-breeding sites at Beermullah and Yanchep Swamp, numbers begin to increase in December and peak in February (Saunders 1980). In more recent times, birds have begun to concentrate in pine plantations near Perth after the breeding season, arriving around January. Birds depart the smaller pine plantations (e.g. at Collier, Mundaring and Somerville) in March and April once the food supply is exhausted. Increased attacks on pine cones between May and June at one large plantation at Gnangara was probably due to the arrival of birds from the smaller plantations. Some birds depart Gnangara between June and August, whilst others breed locally, and may continue to forage in the plantation (Saunders 1974a).
Adults are said to return to the same breeding area each year (Saunders 1977).
Little information is available on home range or territories. Nesting hollows are defended by both sexes. At Coomallo Creek, the average distance from one nest hollow to the nearest nest hollow, for all hollows used during a season, was 174 m. However, if a hollow was active, or had recently been active, when a second pair began nesting, the average spacing between nests was 800 m (Saunders 1982). Foraging and nesting areas are often separate, and birds move between these habitats through corridors of native vegetation (Saunders 1977, 1980). At Coomallo Creek, adults forage on average 1.4 km from their nests (range 0 to 7.1 km). At Manmanning, where the foraging habitat is more fragmented, adults foraged on average 2.5 km from their nests (range 0.6 to 12.0 km) (Saunders 1980).
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo can be detected by sight or call and its presence can also be detected by foraging signs (Cooper 2000; Saunders 1974b).
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo is easily confused with Baudin's Black-Cockatoo, having previously thought to be a subspecies of Baudin's Black-Cockatoo. The only other black-cockatoo in Western Australia is the Red-tailed Black-cockatoo Calyptorhynchus banksii (Saunders 1974b; Higgins 1999). Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo can be distinguished from Baudin's Black-Cockatoo by the following traits (from Higgins 1999):
- Bill shape: In profile, the tip of the upper mandible in Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo is much shorter than that of Baudin's Black-Cockatoo (Higgins 1999).
- Calls: The normal contact calls of each species are very similar but the individual notes and the total duration of the contact calls are slightly longer in Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo. This distinction is said to be readily observed with experience (Higgins 1999; Saunders 1974c).
- Habitat: Although there is some overlap between habitats, especially during the non-breeding season, Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo occurs in drier areas than Baudin's Black-Cockatoo and is a regular visitor, during the non-breeding season, to pine plantations, a habitat Baudin's Black-Cockatoo generally avoid. In addition, Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo mainly occurs in or near eucalypt woodlands, especially those dominated by Wandoo or Salmon Gum, and is only sometimes reported in forests of Marri, Jarrah or Karri. Conversely, Baudin's Black-Cockatoo mainly occurs in forests dominated by Marri, Jarrah and Karri and is only occasionally reported in Wandoo woodland (Higgins 1999; Saunders 1974a, 1974b).
- Foraging behaviour: Foraging behaviour can sometimes help to discriminate between the two species. Both species feed on seeds of Marri. To extract the seeds, Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo habitually breaks the rim from the Marri fruits. In contrast, Baudin's Black-Cockatoo uses its long, tapered bill to extract seeds in a manner that causes little or no damage to the fruits (Cooper 2000; Higgins 1999; Saunders 1974b).
The Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo also occurs within the range of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo, but Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo is readily distinguished by the prominent whitish patch over the ear coverts, the white (as opposed to red) panels in the tail, and the distinctive contact call that is said to be very different from the harsh, metallic notes of the Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo (Higgins 1999).
Habitat assessment is the primary technique used to determine use of an area by Carnaby's Black Cockatoo. Assessment includes the extent, type and quality of the vegetation present, including the presence and extent of plants known to be used by Carnaby's Black Cockatoos. In potential breeding habitat measurements of the DBH of trees in the patch of woodland/forest can be made to determine if the habitat could be breeding habitat. Surveys for Carnaby's Black Cockatoo foraging habitat should be undertaken in any remnant vegetation containing proteaceous heath/woodland, eucalypt woodlands or forest (particularly Marri and Jarrah forest) and in areas dominated by Pinus spp.
Additional information on black cockatoo use of an area can be determined by searching for signs of use. Habitat can be be searched for evidence of use by black cockatoos (for example feeding signs or feeding debris), including sighting records. The presence of cockatoo droppings and feathers, or 'chewed' Banksia cones or Marri nuts, can indicate feeding by black cockatoos (including, if possible, the identification of bite patterns to indicate which black cockatoo species fed there). This can be assessed at any time of year, as cones can remain on the ground for many months. Cones and nuts should be identified by a suitably qualified person.
Short-term surveys are unlikely to give a true representation of habitat use by black cockatoos, due to the highly mobile nature of these birds and their reliance on different areas of habitat at different times of the year and between years.
The following tables give guidance to conducting surveys aimed at detecting the presence of Carnaby's Black Cockatoo at a site. The methodology was developed during a workshop in 2008 (Western Australia Black Cockatoo Workshop 2008). Consideration should be given to the timing, effort, methods and area to be covered in the context of the proposed action. If surveys are conducted outside recommended periods or conditions, survey methods and effort should be adjusted to compensate for the decreased likelihood of detecting the birds. Surveys should be conducted by a suitably qualified person with experience in surveying for black cockatoos.
Surveys for breeding birds
Surveys for breeding black cockatoos should be conducted in likely breeding habitat, focusing on the hollows of large, mature nesting trees (see species habitat descriptions for likely nest tree species).
To detect Carnaby's Black Cockatoos, especially (but not exclusively) nesting females to confirm that breeding is taking place on the site. Notes: female birds may be flushed from the nest if the trunk of the tree is rubbed with a stick.
During the peak breeding season of September to November
Over at least two suitable days, at approximately monthly intervals.
Surveys for foraging birds and/or foraging habitat
Surveys for Carnaby's Black Cockatoo foraging habitat should be undertaken in any remnant vegetation containing proteaceous heath/woodland, eucalypt woodlands or forest (particularly Marri and Jarrah forest) and in areas dominated by Pinus spp.
1) To record the presence and extent of foraging habitat (including contiguous offsite areas); 2) to detect Carnaby's Black Cockatoos foraging at the site; and 3) estimate the number of birds using the site.
One survey in winter. Two further surveys in spring.
Exception: In Marri habitats, the best time to survey for black cockatoos is December to April with three surveys conducted during this period.
A total of three surveys should be undertaken. A survey should consist of both morning and evening visits, for two hours after dawn and two hours before dusk. Surveyors should look for black cockatoos and listen for their characteristic calls.
The presence of cockatoo droppings and feathers, or 'chewed' Banksia cones or Marri nuts, can indicate feeding by black cockatoos (including, if possible, the identification of bite patterns to indicate which black cockatoo species fed there). This can be assessed at any time of year, as cones can remain on the ground for many months. Cones and nuts should be identified by a suitably qualified person.
Surveys for roost sites
Carnaby's Black Cockatoo roosts are generally located in the tallest trees in an area, and are usually located in or near riparian environments or permanent water. Surveys for roosts should target these areas. Different roosts may be used by birds during the non-breeding period and by non-breeding birds during breeding period. Surveys for roosts should be timed to detect use during either and/or both of these periods.
1) To look for evidence that a roost site occurs on the site; 2) to detect Carnaby's Black Cockatoos roosting at the site; and, 3) estimate the number of birds using the roost.
Daytime surveys can be made at any time of year to look for evidence that a roost site occurs on site; including habitat features such as tall trees in proximity to water and foraging habitat, records, cockatoo feathers and/or droppings. Following site assessment, dawn visits should be made at all likely roost sites in both a) non-breeding season (autumn/winter) and b) breeding season (see above).
A minimum of two dawn surveys per season, at approximately monthly intervals, should be conducted over at least one hour on windless mornings in the a) non-breeding season and b) breeding season. A survey should consist of a visit to the site, at least 30 minutes before sunrise. Surveyors should listen for black cockatoo calls until at least 30 minutes after sunrise and attempt to quietly move in the direction of calls to estimate the number of birds as they leave the roost. Counts are best made by standing under a flight path (e.g. a road, track or open area that the birds cross) and looking back towards the roost against an open skyline. Subsequent visits may be required to count the birds as they leave the roost. Roost sites may also be located by following birds returning to the roost in the evening.
The presence of cockatoo feathers and droppings at a site may also indicate roosting.
Breeding habitat should be surveyed during the breeding season, with efforts made to determine if the area is used for nesting and/or foraging. Carnaby's Black-Cockatoos forage up to 12 km from the nest site. While detailed surveys of such an area are not generally practical, surveys should note the distance, size and connectivity of remnant habitat patches in breeding areas (e.g. from satellite images).
When not breeding, black cockatoos tend to aggregate in large flocks and move through the landscape in search of food. These flocks base themselves at roost sites and use the roosts to access the local foraging resources. Numbers tend to be largest at the roost site between dusk and dawn (Johnstone & Kirkby 2008). The number of birds using a roost site will also vary seasonally. While sub-adults and other non-breeding birds will use roost sites all year round, the largest numbers will occur during the non-breeding period, when breeding adults and their young will join the non-breeding birds at roost sites. To get an accurate picture of the importance of a roost site, surveys should be conducted in both the breeding and non-breeding season.
Roosting flocks break up into foraging flocks at dawn, moving into foraging habitat. Away from roost sites Johnstone and Kirkby (2008) found that the largest flocks of the closely related Baudin's Black-Cockatoo are usually recorded within the first two hours of daylight, and in the two hours before dark, as flocks split again into smaller family groups during the middle of the day. The first two hours after dawn and before dark are therefore the best times to search for foraging black cockatoos.
In addition to the identification of black cockatoos by sighting or hearing, skilled observers will be able to infer their presence from tell-tale signs. For example, the scars left on Marri and other woody fruits can be used to distinguish between black cockatoo species (see "Foraging behaviour" above).
The decline of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo is due primarily to the loss and fragmentation of habitat. This has been caused by the clearing of native vegetation, mainly for agricultural purposes, since the middle of the 20th century (Cale 2003; Mawson & Johnstone 1997; Saunders 1979b, 1980, 1986, 1990; Saunders & Ingram 1987, 1995, 1998; Saunders et al. 1985). For example, evidence suggests that the breeding population at Coomallo Creek declined by approximately 50% between 197475 and 199496. Aerial photographs and satellite imagery show that the cover of native vegetation in the Coomallo Creek area decreased from 90% in 1959 to just 25% in 1996 (Saunders 1986; Saunders & Ingram 1998).
Carnaby's Black Cockatoo is a highly mobile species. Thier need to move sequentially through the landscape, utilising different habitat types at different times of the year, makes them especially vulnerable to the loss, fragmentation or degradation of any one component of the landscape. While they appear able to move through highly fragmented landscapes, it is probable that they suffer higher mortality in doing so (Ford et al. 2001; Saunders 1990).
The long-term survival of Carnaby's Black Cockatoo depends on the persistance of suitable breeding habitat (i.e. woodland), nest-sites (i.e. tree hollows) and foraging habitat (e.g. heathlands) capable of providing enough food to sustain the population. At present, the loss of foraging habitat is thought to pose the greatest risk to the species (Saunders & Ingram 1998). The clearance of heathlands from around breeding sites and the removal of corridors of native vegetation that connect breeding and foraging sites reduces the amount of food available for breeding birds and subsequently forces the birds to forage for longer periods, and over greater areas, to obtain sufficient food. In some instances (e.g. during hot weather, when less time is spent foraging), breeding adults may be unable to satisfy their own requirements or those of their young. This reduces productivity (including growth rates and survival of nestlings), and has led to declines in, and in some cases extinction of, local breeding populations (Cale 2003; Saunders 1977, 1980, 1982, 1986; Saunders & Ingram 1987, 1998; Saunders et al. 1985). Sand-plain heaths in high rainfall areas are under increasing threat from Phytophthora cinnamomi which causes root rot (or 'dieback'). The proteaceous plants on which Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo feeds upon are killed by root rot (Stojanovik 2008).
The foraging habitat of non-breeding birds has also been subjected to clearing. Traditionally, many cockatoos moved from the wheatbelt to coastal areas during the non-breeding season. In these areas there appears to have been a shift in food preferences, with the traditional diet now replaced (at least in part) by one comprised largely of the seeds of introduced plantation pines. These pines will mature and be harvested in future, potentially leading to a shortage of food for Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo (Cale 2003; Garnett & Crowley 2000). This is especially likely on the Swan Coastal Plain where, due to the impact that pine plantations have on groundwater supply, the pine trees will not be replaced (J. Blyth December 2005, pers. comm.).
The breeding habitat of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo has also been extensively cleared (Garnett & Crowley 2000). Hollow-bearing trees that are suitable for nesting are now located in remnant patches of woodland and at sites where selected trees have been retained in areas that have otherwise been cleared of native vegetation (Saunders & Ingram 1998). While there is thought to currently be a sufficient number of these trees to provide an excess of hollows for nesting (Saunders 1979b; Saunders & Ingram 1998), the lack of natural regeneration of mature trees (grazing by livestock and rabbits inhibits regrowth) and the absence of replacement planting of old trees that die or are destroyed, may lead to a shortage of hollows in the future. In addition to clearing, hollow-bearing trees may be lost to processes such as fire, tree-fall or the natural collapse of the branch or hollow (Cale 2003; Garnett & Crowley 2000; Saunders 1979b; Saunders & Ingram 1998; Saunders et al. 1985). Nest robbing for avicultural trade renders some hollows unsuitable for nesting. For example, holes may be cut into nesting hollows, or trees cut down, to obtain eggs or nestlings (Cale 2003; Garnett & Crowley 2000; Saunders 1979b). The combined effect of all of these processes is that hollows suitable for nesting are being destroyed more quickly than they are being created (Saunders 1979b).
Competition for nest hollows
The impact of the reduced availability of nesting hollows could be exacerbated by an increase in inter-specific competition for nest-sites. Australian Shelducks Tadorna tadornoides, Australian Wood Ducks Chenonetta jubata, Pacific Black Ducks Anas superciliosa, Grey Teal A. gracilis, Nankeen Kestrels Falco cenchroides, Galahs, Western Corellas C. pastinator, Regent Parrots Polytelis anthopeplus, Australian Ringnecks, Southern Boobooks Ninox novaeseelandiae, Barn Owls Tyto alba and even introduced bees Apis mellifera may compete for hollows with Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo (Cale 2003; Saunders 1979b, 1982). The Galah and Western Corella are the most significant competitors for nest-sites though recent research suggests that introduced bees are also likely to have a significant impact (J. Blyth December 2005, pers. comm.) on nest-site availability. Although Galahs prefer hollows of a slightly different size and shape to those normally used by Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo, there is some overlap in hollow usage between the two species; and given that some Galah populations have increased as a result of the spread of agriculture, the potential for competition will increase as hollows become more scarce (Saunders 1979b, 1982, 1990; Saunders & Ingram 1987; Saunders et al. 1982).
The impact of clearing has also had other consequences for the remaining habitat. In some areas, the remnant native vegetation has become threatened by an increase in the salinity of soils (Mawson & Johnstone 1997; Snyder et al. 2000). The over-clearance of deep-rooted vegetation and the replacement of this vegetation with shallow-rooted agricultural crops is causing the watertable to rise and carry salt to the surface. The subsequent increase in salinity has the potential to adversely effect 61 000 km² of land, including much of the remaining habitat of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo (Saunders & Ingram 1995; Snyder et al. 2000). Clearing also exposes remnant habitats to invasion by weeds and, potentially, other processes that will degrade the habitat. For example, at Coomallo Creek, the remaining woodland is concentrated into long, narrow patches, a configuration that has allowed extensive invasion by weeds at the habitat margins (Saunders & Ingram 1998), and which could also render the cockatoo or its habitat susceptible to other degenerative processes termed 'edge effects'. For example, increased exposure to wind or sun could potentially affect breeding success; nest trees could become damaged during strong winds; and increased temperatures associated with increased exposure to the sun could potentially affect the survival of eggs or nestlings (Birds Australia November 2005, pers. comm.).
Some eggs and nestlings are taken illegally for avicultural markets (Cale 2003; Mawson 1997; Saunders 1979b; Saunders et al. 1985). Although the demand for the species is said to have declined during the last decade or so (Cale 2003; Garnett & Crowley 2000), high market prices (approximately $3000 per bird and $5000 per pair (Mawson 1997)) and the poor breeding success of captive birds (Garnett 1993; Mawson 1997), suggest illegal collection of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo is an ongoing threat (Garnett & Crowley 2000).
Other causes of mortality, not identified by Cale (2003) as threatening the long-term survival of the species, include predation by Wedge-tailed Eagles Aquila audax, collisions with cars, drowning and entrapment (i.e. getting stuck) in tree hollows (Saunders 1982). The cockatoo's are also sometimes shot by landholders for damaging nut and fruit crops and nipping the tips off pines (Pittman et. al. 2007). Breeding failures sometimes result from interference by other species. For example, eggs are probably broken by Galahs, Corellas and Brushtail Possums Trichosurus vulpecula (J. Blyth December 2005, pers. comm.; Saunders 1982), nests occasionally fail when hollows are invaded by bees (Saunders 1979b), and contact with humans can cause female cockatoos to desert the nest or, if startled from the nest, to damage their own eggs (Saunders 1982).
There appears to be little risk to Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo from catastrophic threats. Some nest trees near Moora were downed during a cyclone several years ago, but such damage is likely to be insignificant when compared to the impacts and potential impacts of the main threats identified above (J. Blyth 2005, pers. comm.).
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo is a long-lived species (Higgins 1999; Saunders & Ingram 1998) that does not breed until four years of age (Saunders 1982, 1986), has an estimated generation time of 15 years (Cale 2003; Garnett & Crowley 2000) and has a low rate of productivity (i.e. most successful pairs fledge only one young per year) (Saunders 1982). These characteristics limit the potential of the species to sustain numbers or to recover in the presence or aftermath of a threatening process.
The long-term survival of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo depends primarily upon the conservation and maintenance of existing foraging and breeding habitat, the establishment of new foraging and breeding habitat and the maintenance and development of corridors of native vegetation between foraging and breeding habitats.
Recovery actions that have been completed or are underway:
- Significant breeding areas, especially stands of Salmon Gum, are being identified and protected (Garnett & Crowley 2000; Mawson 1997) and, for the past 10 years or so, damaged hollows that are known to be used by Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo have been repaired by staff from the Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) (Cale 2003) and volunteers from Birds Australia (J. Blyth December 2005, pers. comm.).
- Foraging habitat is being re-established (Garnett & Crowley 2000). For example, several primary schools in both metropolitan and country areas have assisted in the collection of seed and/or replanting of native vegetation to increase the amount of foraging habitat available to the species (Cale 2003; Jupp 1996).
- Two programs have been established to maintain the species in captivity. The first, a captive-breeding program, involved eggs and nestlings being taken from the wild to provide captive-breeding stock (Cale 2003; CALM 1999; Mawson 1997). The second, termed the 'derelict' program, rehabilitates injured cockatoos that are brought to the attention of CALM, and then incorporates them into the captive-breeding stock.
The aim of these programs is to increase the genetic diversity of the species in captivity, reduce the value of birds to the avicultural market, minimise illegal collection from the wild and thereby limit the damage to nesting trees and hollows caused by poachers.
Captive-reared birds are micro-chipped and have blood samples taken for DNA analysis. A stud book, maintained by Perth Zoo, also helps to identify whether birds held by licensed aviculturalists are obtained legally (Cale 2003; Mawson 1997). Over the last 10 years or so, there has been a decrease in the amount of illegal poaching and in the price of birds on the avicultural market (Cale 2003).
Recommended Recovery Actions
The following recovery actions were proposed by Cale (2003):
- The identification of areas of habitat that are considered a priority for conservation and rehabilitation efforts. This will involve the determination of known breeding sites; an assessment of the size and health of specific breeding populations; an assessment of the relative proportions of breeding and foraging habitat available for specific breeding populations; and, finally, the selection of priority areas and the formulation of specific plans of management for each area.
- The management of breeding habitat within priority areas, including the maintenance of existing nesting hollows, the development of new nesting hollows and the regeneration of woodland.
- Nesting hollows will be monitored and maintained by repairing damaged or unused hollows, preventing fire, fencing off woodlands (if necessary), minimising the impact of poachers and controlling and minimising the impact of nest competitors. The availability of nesting hollows will be increased through the design, construction and implementation of nest boxes and logs and through the development and publication of planting guidelines in consultation with stakeholders. Management guidelines will be established to guide the regeneration of woodlands.
- The management of foraging habitat within priority areas, including the retention of existing foraging habitat and the establishment of new foraging habitat.
- Existing habitat will be retained through the ongoing management of heathland/shrubland reserves. New foraging habitat will be established by the planting of suitable native vegetation, with a specific aim to develop corridors of native vegetation between foraging and breeding sites; this will involve the preparation and implementation of revegetation strategies for each priority area.
- The management of foraging habitat in non-breeding (i.e. non-priority) areas. This will involve the management and maintenance of native foraging habitat (i.e. heathlands/shrublands), and an investigation into the use of non-native foraging habitat in Gnangara Park and in plantations of Maritime Pine P. pinaster.
- The regular monitoring of populations in priority areas.This will involve the development of monitoring procedures for landholders, the production of log books and the monitoring of nestling health at least once every three years.
- The promotion of community awareness and involvement, to be facilitated by the design, production and distribution of a 'Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo Recovery Kit'.
- The maintenance of the captive-breeding program.
The progress of the recovery actions recommended by Cale (2003) (from Blyth & McMahon, unpublished reports) are as follows:
- Eight priority breeding sites have been identified and more are likely to be located in future. The active management of these sites, together with the management of associated feeding habitat, is being pursued, including ongoing efforts to replant key species of plants.
- Nesting hollows continue to be repaired and monitoring of such hollows during the 2004 breeding season showed that repaired hollows are used readily by the cockatoos.
- Guidelines for the control (i.e. culling) of Galahs and Western Corellas (which compete with Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo for tree hollows) have been formulated and active control of both of these species is being employed successfully at one property.
- Trials have been conducted with artificial hollows and these show that the cockatoos will use nest boxes and other artificial sites. A draft protocol has been prepared for the use of artificial nest boxes.
- Field surveys are conducted at known nesting sites during the breeding season.
- The management of feeding habitat in non-breeding areas has been initiated through investigation of the viability of rehabilitation (i.e. re-planting) schemes; liason with developers and the public about the conservation of habitat; a study into the potential effects of plantation pine harvest on the Swan Coastal Plain; the identification of management requirements for the cockatoo during pine plantation harvest; and the formulation of a strategic plan to implement those requirements prior to harvest.
- Population monitoring has begun, including searches for and monitoring of nest hollows (including repaired hollows), surveys of foraging habitat around key breeding sites and the marking of birds to track their movements.
- Initiatives continue to be employed to educate the public and increase awareness of the species and its status.
- Maintenance of the captive breeding and rehabilitation program is continuing.
For details of local recovery actions (including methods, progress and people/bodies involved), see Jupp (1996) and McMahon (2003).
The implementation of the recovery actions listed above is co-ordinated by the Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo Recovery Team, which comprises of representatives from the Department of Conservation and Land Management, CSIRO, the Western Australian Museum, Water Corporation, the Threatened Species Network (WWF), Curtin University, Birds Australia and a private landowner (Blyth & McMahon, unpublished reports).
Work by the Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo Recovery Project has recently begun along the south coast where little is known of the cockatoo's movements and habitats. Feeding flocks occur along the coast (from Albany to Cape Arid) while nesting occurs in isolated patches to the east but more commonly in the northwest. This region is becoming an important area for the species as it moves into the southwest corner of Western Australia as suitable habitat decreases inland (Pittman et. al. 2007).
For detailed studies on Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo and the White-tailed Black Cockatoo, see publications by Saunders.
Cooper and company (2002) discuss the metabolic rate and energy requirements of Carnaby's Black Cockatoo.
The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.
|Threat Class||Threatening Species||References|
|Agriculture and Aquaculture:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation||
Calyptorhynchus latirostris in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006en) [Internet].
The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000 (Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley, 2000) [Cwlth Action Plan].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Land clearance (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001w) [Listing Advice].
|Biological Resource Use:Hunting and Collecting Terrestrial Animals:Illegal hunting/harvesting and collection||Calyptorhynchus latirostris in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006en) [Internet].|
|Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations||Calyptorhynchus latirostris in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006en) [Internet].|
|Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Competition and/or predation by birds||Calyptorhynchus latirostris in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006en) [Internet].|
|Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Psittacine Circoviral Disease||Commonwealth Listing Advice on Psittacine Circoviral (beak and feather ) Disease affecting endangered psittacine species (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001v) [Listing Advice].|
|Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low fecundity, reproductive rate and/or poor recruitment|
|Transportation and Service Corridors:Roads and Railroads:Vehicle related mortality|
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Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Calyptorhynchus latirostris in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Tue, 23 Sep 2014 18:27:22 +1000.