Cockatoo is the most amazing bird in Cape York.
It is the
most amazing looking of all Australian
cockatoos. It is also the largest,
and the smartest
It is the only cockatoo to greet other group
"meetings", drum, and use tools.
found in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, but in Australia it is only
parts of Cape York
It is not very common
worth keeping your eyes open for them, you may just happen
in the right spot at the right time!
Distribution, Habitat and
There is only one species of Palm
- Probosciger aterrimus,
evolutionary it is the earliest member of the cockatoo family.
Unlike parrots, which are also found in other parts of the world
(particularly South America), cockatoos
are only found in south east Asia and Australiasia.
There are four different
of palm cockatoo, three of them living in Indonesia and
New Guinea, and the one found in Australia is Probosciger
The Australian subspecies is only found on Cape York peninsula
of Pormpuraaw in the west and Princess
Charlotte Bay in
the east) - nowhere else in Australia. They live in tropical rainforests
and tropical woodlands,
the zone between the two, where the dominant tree species are acacias
Appearance and Calls
Palm Cockatoo can be up to 60cm
about a kilo.
Its body is
a red patch
on the face
that goes deeper red when the
bird is excited or alarmed.
Like other cockatoos it has a crest,
but it's huge,
and it also has
one of the largest bills
all cockatoos (the male's is larger than the female's).
piercing calls, and the 'hello' call that is almost human like. It is
known for different dialects
throughout the species' range.
Palm Cockatoo Behaviour
Its behaviour is also unique.
It's well known for its territorial
displays where tools
(without food as
something that is very rare within the animal kingdom).
Males break off a small branch from a live tree, cut it to a shorter
section, peel off the bark and use it as a drumstick to drum against their hollow tree
- with cheeks bright red, wings stretched out, and crest fully
as a show-off for females, an alert about a territory claim for
males, or a celebration of a territorial dispute having been won.
After drumming the stick is sometimes chopped into small pieces that
are placed to line the nest.
Drumming is most common to see from June to September although it can
occur at any time of the year. Sometimes seed pods are used, and females sometimes drum with their
many other cockatoos,
but small groups of up to six
individuals can be seen, most often at dusk or dawn.
What Does Palm Cockatoo Eat?
cockatoos can be seen
eating both on the
ground and in the canopy, often in early mornings.
They mainly eat nuts,
seeds and berries.
Some favourite species
Darwin stringybark, pandanus palm, black bean, beach almond, cocky
apple, nonda tree and kanari tree.
The upper and lower beak of the palmie don't meet properly - tongue is used to hold the food.
Breeding and Life Span
are permanent, and nests,
in hollow trees
eucalypts such as
and bloodwood in the tropical woodlands), are maintained and defended
is between August
and January. Courtship
consists of foot stamping, raised crests and outspread wings. Both parents care for young.
Only one egg is laid
second year, meaning the breeding success rates are low. Like other
cockatoos they have a long
life span - up to 90 years in captivity.
Status and Threats
species is listed as nearly
threatened. The adult
population is small and breeding rates are low.
They are sough after in pet
which is illegal in Australia.
The main threat to them is habitat
destruction, as there are only so many hollow trees.
In Cape York, their particular threat is bauxite
mining. Mines may
have their revegetation rules, but that doesn't obviously replace the old growth trees with hollow nests
that are necessary for palmies in their habitat.
They nest in woodlands but feed in rainforests so they have specific habitat requirements
makes them even more vulnerable for habitat loss.
They are the most iconic
Cape York and they are already rare to see so any further
of them would be a big loss for us.
Get this 50 pages guide totally for FREE. It
contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip.
You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you
should take, how to get
there and get
to stay (general info), what
will it cost..
and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.
This complete 300 pages
travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the
background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks, at least 30 guaranteed FREE camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to the Cape), at least 40 best swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things - from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception, how to deal with the national parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery gear by my partner Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old Telegraph Track). Not to mention locals' tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)
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