Cockatoo parrot

The cockatoo parrot is an incredibly cute and intelligent parrot. It stands out from other parrot species with its crest and various shades of white, pink, gray and black. Domestic cockatoos are often referred to as “Velcro” due to their highly sociable nature and obsessive need to be around people. Looking at his funny behavior, almost every bird lover is thinking about acquiring it.

Origin of the species and description

Photo: Cockatoo Parrot

Photo: Cockatoo Parrot

The cockatoo was first identified as a subfamily of Cacatuinae in the family Psittacidae by the English naturalist George Robert Gray in 1840, with Cacatua being the first type genera listed. Molecular studies show that the earliest known species were New Zealand parrots.

The word “cockatoo” dates back to the 17th century and comes from the Dutch kaktoe, which in turn comes from the Malay kakatua. Seventeenth-century variants include cacato, cocoon, and crocador, while eighteenth-century cacato, socatura, and cockatoo were used.

Fossil cockatoos are even rarer than parrots in general. Only one truly ancient fossil cockatoo is known: the species Cacatua, found in the early Miocene (16-23 million years ago). Although fragmentary, the remains are similar to the slender-billed and pink cockatoo. The influence of these fossils on cockatoo evolution and phylogeny is rather limited, although the fossil allows tentative dating of subfamily divergence.

Video: Cockatoo Parrot

Cockatoos belong to the same scientific order and family as the rest of the parrots (Psittaciformes and Psittacidae, respectively). In total, there are 21 species of cockatoos native to Oceania. They are endemic to Australia, including New Zealand and New Guinea, and are also found in Indonesia and the Solomon Islands.

Appearance and Features

Photo: Cockatoo parrot bird

Photo: Cockatoo parrot bird

Cockatoos are medium to large parrots with a stocky build. The length varies from 30–60 cm, and the weight is in the range of 300–1,200 g. However, the cockatiel species is significantly smaller and slenderer than others, its length is 32 cm (including its long, pointed tail feathers), and the weight &# 8212; 80–100 g. The movable crest on the crown, which all cockatoos have, is impressive. It rises when the bird lands after flight or when excited.

Cockatoos share many features with other parrots, including a characteristic curved beak and foot shape with two middle toes forward and two outer toes back. They are distinguished by the lack of bright blues and greens that can be seen in other parrots.

Cockatoos have short legs, strong claws, and a wriggling gait. They often use their strong beak as a third limb when climbing branches. They usually have long, wide wings used in fast flight, at speeds up to 70 km/h. Members of the mourning cockatoo genus and large white cockatoos, have shorter, rounder wings and more leisurely flight.

The plumage of cockatoos is less bright than that of other parrots. The predominant colors are black, gray and white. Many species have small patches of bright colors on their plumage: yellows, pinks, and reds (on the crest or tail). Also, for several species, pink is a priority. Some species have a brightly colored area around the eyes and face. The plumage of males and females is similar in most species. However, the plumage of the female is duller than that of the male.

Where does the cockatoo live?

Photo: Great Cockatoo Parrot

Photo: Large Cockatoo Parrot

The distribution area of ​​u200bu200bthe cockatoo is more limited than that of other types of parrots. They are found only in Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Eleven of the 21 species are found only in the wild in Australia, while seven species are found only in Indonesia, the Philippines and the Solomon Islands. No cockatoo species have been found on the island of Borneo, despite their presence on the nearby islands of the Pacific Ocean, although fossils have been found in New Caledonia.

Three species are found in both New Guinea and Australia. Some species have a wide distribution, such as the pink, which is found over most of the Australian mainland, while others have tiny ranges confined to a small part of the continent, such as the black cockatoo of Western Australia or the small island group of the Goffin cockatoo (Tanimbar corella), which is only on the Tanimbar Islands. Some cockatoos have been accidentally introduced to areas outside their natural range, such as New Zealand, Singapore and Palau, while two Australian Corella species have been distributed to other parts of the continent where they are not native.

Cockatoos live in subalpine forests and mangroves. The most common species, such as pink and cockatiel, specialize in open areas and prefer grass seeds. They are very mobile nomads. Flocks of these birds move across vast areas of the mainland, finding and feeding on seeds. Drought can force flocks from drier areas to move further into agricultural areas.

Other species, such as the glossy black cockatoo, are found in rainforest scrub and even alpine forests. The Philippine cockatoo inhabits mangrove forests. Forest-dwelling members of the genus tend to be sedentary, as food supplies are stable and predictable. Some species have adapted well to the modified human environment and are found in agricultural areas and even in busy cities.

What does the cockatoo parrot eat?

Photo: White Cockatoo Parrot

Photo: White cockatoo parrot

Cockatoos consume predominantly plant foods. Seeds make up the majority of the diet of all species. Eolophus roseicapilla, Cacatua tenuirostris and some black cockatoos feed mainly on the ground in flocks. They prefer open areas with good visibility. Other species feed on trees. Western cockatiels and long-legged cockatiels have long claws for digging up tubers and roots, and the pink cockatoo walks in circles around Rumex hypogaeus, trying to twist the above-ground part of the plant and remove the underground parts.

Many species feed on seeds from the cones or nuts of plants such as eucalyptus, banksia, hooded hakea, which are native to the Australian dryland landscape. Their hard shell is inaccessible to many animal species. Therefore, mainly parrots and rodents feast on fruits. Some nuts and fruits hang from the end of thin branches that cannot support the weight of the cockatoo, so the feathered southerner bends the branch towards him and holds it with his foot.

While some cockatoos are generalists, eating broad range of foods, others prefer a particular type of food. The glossy black cockatoo loves the cones of the Allocasuarina trees, preferring one of its species, A. verticillata. It holds the seed pods with its foot and crushes them with its powerful beak before removing the seeds with its tongue.

Some species eat large numbers of insects, especially during the breeding season. Most of the yellow-tailed black cockatoo’s diet consists of insects. Its beak is used to extract larvae from rotting wood. The amount of time a cockatoo has to spend foraging depends on the season.

During periods of abundance, they may only need a couple of hours a day to forage for food, and spend the rest of the day squatting or preening in trees. But in winter most of the day is spent in search of food. Birds have an increased need for food during the breeding season. The cockatoo has a large goiter, which allows them to store and digest food for some time.

Character and lifestyle features

Photo : Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Photo: Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Cockatoos need daylight to find food. They are not early risers but wait for the sun to warm their roosting areas before heading off to forage. Many species are highly social and forage and travel in noisy flocks. Flocks vary in size depending on the availability of food. In times of food abundance, flocks are small and number about a hundred birds, while in times of drought or other disasters, flocks can swell to tens of thousands of birds.

A flock of 32,000 little cockatiels is celebrated in the state of Kimberley. Species that inhabit open areas form larger flocks than species in forested areas. Some species require roosting sites close to drinking areas. Other species travel long distances between roosting and feeding grounds.

Cockatoos have distinctive bathing methods:

  • hanging upside down in the rain;
  • flying under rain;
  • flutter in the wet leaves of the trees.

This is the funniest kind to keep at home. Cockatoos become very attached to people who take care of them. They are not very suitable for teaching conversational speech, but they are very artistic and demonstrate ease in performing various tricks and commands. They can make various, funny movements. dissatisfaction is demonstrated with the help of unpleasant cries. They are very vindictive towards the offender.

Social structure and reproduction

Photo: Cockatoo

Photo: Cockatoo

Cockatoos form monogamous bonds between pairs that can last for many years. Females breed for the first time between three and seven years of age, and males reach sexual maturity at an older age. Delayed puberty, compared to other birds, allows you to develop the skills of raising young. Little cockatoos stay with their parents for up to a year. many species consistently return to their nesting sites over the years.

Courtship is quite simple, especially for determined couples. Like most parrots, cockatoos use hollow nests in depressions in trees that they cannot make on their own. These depressions are formed as a result of rotting or decaying wood, broken branches, fungi, or insects such as termites or even woodpeckers.

Nest holes are rare and become a source of competition, as with other members of the species, and with other species and types of animals. Cockatoos choose holes in trees only slightly larger than themselves, so species of different sizes nest in holes that match their size.

If possible, cockatoos prefer to nest at a height of 7 or 8 meters, next to water and food. The nests are lined with sticks, wood chips and branches with leaves. The eggs are oval and white. Their size varies from 55 mm to 19 mm. Clutch size varies within a given family, ranging from one to eight eggs. About 20% of the eggs laid are infertile. Some species may lay a second clutch if the first one dies.

Chicks of all species are born covered in yellowish down, with the exception of the palm cockatoo, whose offspring are born naked. Incubation time depends on the size of the cockatoo, with smaller species incubating for about 20 days, while black cockatoos incubate eggs for up to 29 days. Some species can fly in as little as 5 weeks, and large cockatoos — after 11 weeks. During this period, the chicks are covered with plumage and gain 80–90% of the weight of adults.

Natural enemies of cockatoos

Photo: Cockatoo parrot bird

Photo: Cockatoo parrot bird

Eggs and chicks vulnerable to many predators. Various species of lizards, including the monitor lizard, are able to climb trees and find them in hollows.

Other predators include:

  • spotted tree owl on Rasa Island;
  • Amethyst Python;
  • Shrike;
  • Rodents, including Cape White-footed Rabbit Rat — York;
  • carpal opossum on Kangaroo Island.

In addition, Galah (pink grey) and small cockatiels competing for nesting with glossy black cockatoos have been recorded where chicks of the latter species have been killed. Severe storms can also flood holes, drowning young, and termite activity can lead to internal nest destruction. The peregrine falcon (duck-hawk), the Australian pygmy eagle, and the wedge-tailed eagle have been known to attack some species of cockatoo.

Like other parrots, cockatoos suffer from circovirus beak and feather infections (PBFD). The virus causes feather loss, beak curvature and reduces the general immunity of the bird. Especially common in grey-crested cockatoos, small cockatiels and pink varieties. The infection was found in 14 cockatoo species.

Although it is unlikely that PBFD could have a significant impact on healthy bird populations in the wild. The virus may pose a risk to small populations that have been infected. Like Amazon parrots and macaws, cockatoos often develop cloacal papillomas. The association with malignancy is unknown, as is their cause.

Population and species status

Photo: Pink Cockatoo Parrot< p id=”caption-attachment-3745″ class=”wp-caption-text”>Photo: Pink Cockatoo Parrot

The main threats to the cockatoo population are habitat loss and fragmentation and wildlife trade. Maintaining the population at the proper level depends on the availability of nesting sites in the trees. In addition, many species have specific habitat requirements or live on small islands and have small ranges, making them vulnerable.

Conservationists concerned about the declining cockatoo population have hypothesized that sub-optimal juvenile performance across populations may have been due to the loss of breeding grounds following the clearing of inland areas in the last century. This can lead to aging of flocks of wild cockatoos, where the majority are birds of post-reproductive age. This will lead to a rapid decline in numbers after the death of old birds.

Catching many species for sale is now prohibited, but the trade continues illegally. The birds are placed in boxes or bamboo tubes and transported by boat from Indonesia and the Philippines. Not only are rare species smuggled out of Indonesia, but also common cockatoos are smuggled out of Australia. To calm the birds, they are covered in nylon stockings and packaged in PVC tubes, which are then placed in unaccompanied luggage on international flights. Mortality during such “voyages” reaches 30%.

Recently, smugglers are increasingly taking out bird eggs, which are easier to hide during flights. The cockatoo trade is believed to be organized gangs that also trade Australian species for foreign species such as macaws.

Cockatoo Conservation

Photo : Red Book Cockatoo Parrot

Photo: Red Book Cockatoo Parrot

According to the IUCN and the international organization for the protection of birds, seven species of cockatoo are considered vulnerable. Two kinds of — Philippine cockatoo + yellow-crested cockatoo — are considered endangered. Cockatoos are popular as pets and their trade threatens some species. Between 1983 and 1990, 66,654 registered Moluccan cockatoos were exported from Indonesia, and this figure does not include the number of birds caught for domestic trade or illegally exported.

Research on the cockatoo population aims to conduct a census of the remaining cockatoo species throughout its range in order to obtain accurate population estimates and determine their ecological and management needs. The ability to estimate the age of sick and injured cockatoos can provide valuable information about the life history of cockatoos in rehabilitation programs and will be helpful in identifying suitable candidates for captive breeding.

Cockatoo parrot, protected by the Convention on International Trade in Species Endangered Wildlife (CITES), which restricts the import and export of wild-caught parrots for specially licensed purposes. Five species of cockatoo (including all subspecies) — Goffina (Cacatua goffiniana), Philippine (Cacatua haematuropygia), Moluccan (Cacatua moluccensis), Sulphur-crested (Cacatua sulphurea) and Black Cockatoo are protected on the CITES I list. All other species are protected on the CITES Appendix II list.

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