Peek-a-boo Black Cockatoos

2021 is looking to be an exciting year for the Murchison House Station carnaby population!

NACC NRM, together with Murchison House Station owners, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), Birdlife and the Geraldton Regional Herbarium are teaming up to try and solve some of the mysteries that surround the northernmost known carnaby flock.

Over the next 12 months, surveys have been planned to help identify population composition and important vegetation as well as scoping out new nesting hollows. This research is vital to the ongoing conservation of the species as a whole.

Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo (White-tail black-cockatoo) chick in its hollow 7-8 weeks old at Murchison Station in November 2020.

Federally listed as an endangered species, the carnaby’s Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) has suffered significant population declines in recent years due to habitat loss and fragmentation throughout the wheatbelt. Black Cockatoos are dependent on surface water, forage in proteaceous heathland and nest in hollows found in large, old eucalypt trees. Their diverse habitat requirements mean that they rely on conservation programs’ ongoing support to ensure their survival.

Records of Carnaby’s breeding at Murchison House Station date back to the 1970s and current owners Callum and Belinda, say they sight the birds at the station homestead between October and January each year.

Red-tail Black cockatoo chick in its hollow 7-8 weeks old at Murchison Station in November 2020. Carnabys can be readily distinguished from red tail blacks by their cute white cheek patches, and distinct white tail feathers.

NACC NRM Bushcare Officer Jarna Kendle says the initial surveys conducted in 2020 confirmed about 80 individual birds and two new nesting hollows with young chicks.

“The station has wonderful nesting habitat for cockatoos with plenty of ancient river gums, reliable fresh water and abundant food sources,” said Jarna.

“This year we are crossing our fingers and toes in hopes that we find many more chicks!”

Jarna Kendle – Bushcare Officer

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2 comments

Hi. Just to let you know we have about 100 Carnabys frequently over the year in the big river gums near my father in laws place on our farm Green Grove midway between Eneabba and Dongara just off the Brand Highway

Thank you for letting us know, Donna! We will be in contact.

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