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Black cockatoo query

August 28, 2020

Recently the question was asked if the Strath Creek/Flowerdale area had ever been part of the home range of black cockatoos other than the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus funereus.

A long term resident of the district recalls seeing what he assumed were the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus magnificus over 50 years ago.

There are two types of black cockatoos in Victoria that have red markings on their tails the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo and the Glossy Black Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus lathami.

GBC

Glossy Black Cockatoo

RTBC

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historically both species were more widespread in Victoria than they are now but these days both birds have a very reduced home range (See map below). However Strath Creek/Flowerdale would have always been outside the normal range of both species.

C. lathami are now usually only found in far East Gippsland and C. magnificus is restricted to the western part of Victoria.

RTBC map current

Occasionally C. lathami will still appear more westerly. This year for instance there have been sightings of them at Mt Macedon and even close to Melbourne in the SE suburbs around Dandenong and Frankston. Their recent movements are probably due to the fires that occured over large areas of East Gippsland. Other observations in recent years have also occurred in the Strathbogie Ranges.

In past decades it may not have been that unusual to occasionally see either of the species in the Strath Creek/Flowerdale district if their main feed plants were present.

A major part of the C. lathami’s and C. magnificus’ diet is the seed of sheoaks (Allocasuarina species) and the loss of these plants in the landscape is almost certainly the cause of the decline of both species in Victoria. Over the last few years UGLN have been including the drooping and black she-oak in many of our landcare plantings in an effort to increase the distribution of the plants and the wildlife that feed on the plants.

There are still a few remnant she-oaks in the district but logging, clearing for agriculture and browsing by stock, rabbits and feral deer have severely affected their ability to regenerate and these plants are now quite rare in much of the upper goulburn region.

drooping-sheoak

Drooping Sheoak Allocasuarina verticillata

If anyone has any old or new observations from the area about either of these two magnificent birds or sheoaks i’d be very interested to hear about them.

Email Chris Cobern: ugln.projects@ugln.net

One Comment leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    August 28, 2020 9:44 pm

    Well Done Chris!

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