Red-tailed Black Cockatoo breeds in metro area for first time

July 14, 2011

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For the first time, a threatened black cockatoo has bred in the Perth metropolitan area, on Murdoch University’s South Street Campus.

The Red-tailed Black Cockatoo chick is believed to have hatched around mid-May and is a huge milestone in the University’s plan to provide habitat for endangered cockatoos.

Murdoch University’s Environmental Program Manager, Caroline Minton, said this was also the first known case of a Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo breeding in a nest box.

“The Department of Environment and Conservation gave one of our University clubs – the Murdoch Environmental Restoration Group –  enough funding to install six nest boxes on campus in May 2009, but until now only four have been used, two by pink and grey Galahs and two by feral bees,” Ms Minton said.

“The tube nest boxes with open tops were designed specifically by the WA Museum to simulate the natural breeding hollows of the black cockatoos.”

Adjunct Murdoch University Professor and WA Museum’s Curator of Ornithology, Ron Johnstone, has tagged the chick and taken a DNA sample as part of a research study that has spanned the last 15 years.

“The Forest Red-tailed is a large, iconic forest and woodland cockatoo endemic to the south-west corner of Western Australia,” Professor Johnstone said.

“The threatened species have suffered substantial loss of habitat and decline in numbers in the past 50 years.

“A lack of food sources and suitable nesting hallows have previously stopped the cockatoo from breeding in the metropolitan area, but the planting of Cape Lilac and various Eucalypts at Murdoch has provided them with a new habitat in which to breed.”

A flock of around 30 Red-tails moved onto the Murdoch’s campus in early 2010 and the resident population’s numbers are now estimated at more than 90. They share land with the endangered Carnaby’s Cockatoo which are found in large numbers at Murdoch.

“Murdoch’s introduction of reserves, native landscaping, extensive replanting and wildlife corridors is paying off for the protection of both species,” Ms Minton said.

The WA Museum’s research project studies the breeding biology, migration movements, food and behaviour of all three species of black cockatoo including the Baudin’s and Carnaby’s.

Media contact: Hayley Mayne
Tel: (08) 9360 2491  |  Mobile: 0400 297 221  |  Email: h.mayne@murdoch.edu.au
Categories: Domestic students, Events, Future Students, General, International students, Murdoch achievements
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Comments (42 responses)

Claire Culverwell August 17, 2011

This morning Wed 17/08/11 at 8.38am I sighted 7 Red Tailed Black Cockatoos sitting in a tree on the corner of Somerville Blvd and Kingston Place on the border of Kardinya and Winthrop. I know they are endangered but until I read this article I was unaware that breeding has been taking place on the grounds surrounding Murdoch University. We live in Winthrop and daily travel thru the grounds of the uni to get my son to school at Winthrop Baptist College. We often see black Cockatoos in the pine trees or flying over our house to get from one stand of pines to another. I always look out for the Red Tailed Cockatoos in the hope to see this rare and beautiful bird and until today have not had a sighting. I was so excited I had to report the sighting to someone. Is there a specific place/web address where such sightings can be reported? Sincerely Claire Culverwell.

Jasmin Walker August 30, 2011

Hi Claire,
You can report off campus sightings of the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo or Carnaby Black Cockatoo on the WA Museum's Cockatoo Care website – http://www.museum.wa.gov.au/explore/online-exhibitions/cockatoo-care/where-to-see-them-and-sighting-info. If you spot any of these cockatoos on campus then let us know and we'll send you a sighting form, which will be used to help us with our monitoring.
Thanks

Rose September 7, 2011

I have been watching about 20 Red-tailed Cookatoos this morning (7am) eating from the large gum tree on our property. I live in Wellard. This year there has been a lot the White-tailed Cookatoos around but this is the first time I have seen the Red-Tailed. I did take a couple of photos but they are from a distance and I don't think they would be helpful. Hope this helps your research the spotting. Rose

Rose September 8, 2011

Hi again,well they where back again this morning and this time I was equipped with my camera.It appears to be around the same time and they have stayed for nearly an hour again.There seems to be a lot more this morning and they are in other properties as well.Once again I am in awe of them as I have not noticed their presents before.Rose

Teresa Cinanni September 26, 2011

I sighted a magnificant large red tailed cockatoo on Hybanthus Rd, Ferndale at 5 15pm this evening. It was very black with the only colouring being the red tail feathers.

It flew down in front of my car, tail feather spread and made my day. I havent seen a red tailed cockatoo in the metro area since I was a child. I was driving and didnt have an opportunity to see if it had a mate. When I walked down the street about 5 minutes later it has gone.
Teresa

Rob Burrows December 9, 2011

There has been a flock of around 12 red tails in Kings Park and Subiac down to Salisbury Street the last 5 days. I have some photos

Hayley Mayne December 12, 2011

Hi Rob,

You can report off campus sightings of the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo or Carnaby Black Cockatoo on the WA Museum's Cockatoo Care website – http://www.museum.wa.gov.au/explore/online-exhibitions/cockatoo-care/where-to-see-them-and-sighting-info.
Cheers

Hayley

Trevor Sainsbury December 14, 2011

Sighted three( 1 x male & 2 x females) Red Tailed Black Cockatoos this morning, Wed 14 Dec, at 10.30 in Monaco Park North Lake. After about 30 mins they flew off in the direction of Murdoch Uni.

Ashlee January 1, 2012

Had a flock of about 10 sitting in the tree at my unit in Morley, has been happening quite frequently the last few weeks!

John January 4, 2012

A flock of over 40 Red tails have been feeding on our Cape Lilac tree in Floreat over the past fortnight.

Stephen January 8, 2012

My wife and I live in the hills area of Wooroloo and frequently see Rad Tailed Black Cockatoos. Its not unusual for them to come in small groups and prune some of our trees. I was wondering is there are some designs for nesting boxes, that i could make a couple of boxes up and hang them in some of our trees. The only plans I have found on the net seem very confusing as the exact designs and sizes for nesting boxes may i copy the Murdoch ones please?

Caroline Minton January 11, 2012

Hi Stephen,

RE NEST TUBE DESIGN / SUPPLY

The nest tubes we installed at our Murdoch University campus were a best practice design purchased through the Serpentine Jarrahdale Landcare Group. They make them from a ~1m long, section of heavy, thick, recycled PET pipe (~30mm diameter), with a base made for drainage, an open top (to reduce feral bee infestation) and chains to attach the tube to a nice big tree trunk. The design has been based on years of research on natural hollows used by Black Cockatoo's by Ron Johnstone and his team at the WA Museum. The nest tubes can be purchased from the SJ Landcare group at ~$400 each, but if you're keen on making some I still recommend contacting Francis Smit from the group on 9526 0012 for design criteria.

We used Arboreal Tree Care for our recent nest tube installation, as the tubes need to be installed up high and require a cherry picker. The company is experienced in finding the right place for the tubes to protect them from the summer sun and winter storms. Wayne Goring from Arboreal Tree Care can be contacted on 0402 274 259. Ron Johnstone from the WA Museum (Ph: 9212-3739) should also be able to provide some advice on the best spots for nest tubes. NB There needs to be a good supply of cocky food and a spot for drinking near each nest, I believe within ~2km.

Good luck with the nest boxes, Stephen. Let us know if you get any black cockatoo's taking up residence. They need all the help they can get.

Regards,

Caroling Minton. (Murdoch University's Environmental Programme Manager)

Taizo March 3, 2012

Are there any photos of the actual bird boxes?

Val McFarlane March 5, 2012

Taizo – we have added a picture at the end of the article.

Liz March 9, 2012

a small flock of approx 20 birds have been happily tearing into trees at yokine reserve for the past week or so. there are breeding pairs and juviniles amongst them. you can see them there around 4pm-6pm. you'll hear them easily enough! and you can tell where they've been because of the debris. they're lovely to watch.

Sue Williams March 22, 2012

Hi

I noticed that we have a flock of 6 Red Tailed Cockatoos living in the nature reserve next to our house, they have been here for nearly 2 months now. We quite often see flocks of around 50 to 60 Carnabys in the same reserve for a few days on and off, but this is a first for the Red Tails, they are around our area but never all day every day. I can hear them squawking now as I type this, they have a distinctly different sound to their cousins. Watching them with interest.

Sue W

Susanna Price April 9, 2012

We have a Cape Lilac tree at the front of our house in Leeming. Last year was the first time we noticed the Red Tail Black cockatoos stopping at our place for a feed twice every day, morning and afternoon. Last year the flock numbered about 20 and they stayed for at least half an hour each time, calling to each other and trimming the tree with their large beaks while they crunched on the berries of the Cape Lilac. This year we have only noticed three which have been coming twice a day, each time visiting for at least half an hour. Perhaps the infestation of caterpillars we have had on the Cape Lilac has kept them away this year. The caterpillars have been so bad they have stripped the leaves bare on the tree, however, there are still a lot of berries for the birds. They love eating the berries, holding on to each bunch with their claws as they chew into them with their beaks. We are so lucky to be visited by these lovely birds..and our tree is kept trimmed as a bonus!

Darin April 28, 2012

Hi,
We have a flock of about 10 red tailed cockatoos moved into the Gnangara area. We have never seen them in this area before. We have lived here for over 14years! We have always had the Carnaby's but never the red tailed. I have spent a lot of time watching them they are so beautiful!
My eucalypt trees especially the silver princesses have been eagerly attacked for food.

Would a nesting box placed in a large Jarrah tree be suitable for them to breed in?
Darin

Caroline Minton May 1, 2012

Hi Darin,

There is no guarantee that the birds will use the nest tube, but it's worth a try. A large jarrah sounds ideal if the access to it is suitable for installaing a nest tube on the North-East side of the tree. See my earlier comments with details about where to buy them and how to get them installed. I forgot to mention earlier that it's a good idea to place about 2 inches of coarse wood chips in the bottom of the tube to provide suitable nesting material. The tubes also come with a couple of wooden chewing posts.

You may also like to start recording sightings of black cockatoos in your area to help the WA Museum with their research. Go to: http://museum.wa.gov.au/explore/online-exhibitions/cockatoo-care and click on the 'where' tab in the navy box on the right hand side. You can download a frequent sighting form and send it to the WA Museum when completed, and keep recording as often or for as long as you are keen.

Caroline Minton
Environmental Programme Manager, Murdoch University

Catherine May 14, 2012

I have been photographing and filming Red Tail Black Cockatoos in my Cape Lilac Tree this past week in Danzil Street Willagee, and there is a baby or two among them. They may stay to nest. We'll see. Flock sizes varied from 24 to 9.

Nicholas May 20, 2012

I live in Marri Park dr, Tomas Rd and in a Casurina tree nesting about in early summer ( demecber to Christmas)

Patricia Rigo June 26, 2012

I saw 8 Balck Red Tailed Cockatoo's today feeding in a Cape Lilac tree today in Corbell St Shelley. It was quite a sight.

Jasmine Lyons July 1, 2012

I have spotted a pair of Red Tail Black Cockatoos today in a tree cnr of Stock Road & Leach Highway. They looked like young adults and flew off in an easterly direction.

Angela July 12, 2012

Have had @ 6-8 Red tailed black cockatoos in our Cape Lilac tree in Bassendean (near train station) past 2 weeks, eating berries & stripping old branches.. When I got a close up photo, 1 had plain red feathers, other had striped feathers.. Female/male variety?)

Paul Wilken July 22, 2012

August 222-2012 I have seen many Black Cockatoos in the vicinity of my house in Forrstfield – both Red Tailed and White Tailed. My daughter lives in Redcliffe and across the road from her house there is a park.Red Tailed Black Cockatoos have been visiting this park for 6 weeks that I am aware of.They love the euclyptus trees that grow there and I have seen them biting of the new leaves on top of the tree and letting them fall to the ground.I don't know what the trees are but they have a very smooth bark like a white or salmon gum.

Paul Wilken July 27, 2012

Saw 3 Red Tails in Dawson Ave Forrestfield.They landed in a dead tree so I raced home to get my camera but when I returned they had gone.A lone Red Tail flew over my house here in Forrestfield today Friday 27/7/12 at 5pm and it was flying east.

Jo Manning July 31, 2012

Thanks for your comments,
Don't forget to report off campus sightings of the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo or Carnaby's Black Cockatoo on the WA Museum's Cockatoo Care website – http://www.museum.wa.gov.au/explore/online-exhibitions/cockatoo-care/where-to-see-them-and-sighting-info.
This helps the WA museum with its research. Simply click on the 'Where to see them' tab in the navy box on the right hand side. You can download a frequent sighting form and send it to the WA Museum when completed.
Cheers
Jo
Murdoch University media and communications

Robert August 6, 2012

Red tail black cockatoos in cape lilac tree on samson st and edmund white gum valley. Since saturday the 4th august 2012, have been there every morning (about 10 or so in number)

Jenny August 29, 2012

A dozen or more red tailed cockatoos feeding off Cape Lilac in Dalgety St East Fremantle. They have been around for a week or more now.

william rushton September 7, 2012

4 red tails in gum tree during highwinds on 5th and 6th of sept in glen forrest great to watch them
regards bill

Nigel September 9, 2012

In August we had 4 Red Tailed Cockatoos feeding on berries in a tree in our backyard in Morley.Came back for about three weeks. Have a few nice photo's.

Bill Perger September 15, 2012

Two red-tails in a tree at top of Coode Street, Bedford (near Morley) – opposite Hillcrest Primary School. I will add this sighting to the Museum spotting page.

Rachel February 10, 2013

on 8/2/13 I saw a lone red-tailed black cockatoo near the council building in Gosnells. Flew right over Albany HWY.

Nola February 12, 2013

We have red tailed black cockatoos in the tree next door to us in Warnbro as I saw and heard them just a minute ago. We live in Warnbro WA and they were here also last year – love the buds on the tree they are in.

Bob Claus May 12, 2013

Hope I'm not repeating myself, but first time I tried to send this I made a blue and didn't put in correct address and it wiped out my message.

They seem to have gone now, but up to a week ago and 5-6 weeks prior we had a lot of red tails visit our place in Wellard every morning and afternoon. It started with about 3 birds in the top of the gum trees slowly getting lower going from tree to tree until one finally took the plunge to drink at one of three bird baths. The were extremely wary, but once the first one made the move, the others followed. Over the weeks the numbers increased to about a dozen birds. They'd all come together, but they'd take it in turns to come down for a drink – waves of 2 or 3. Also, they became more confident and would even walk around on the lawn. The best day I counted 21 all there together and the noise was fantastic!! As I said, they've gone now, but I'm hopeful they will return.

Olivia Russell June 21, 2013

I watched about 8 red tail black cockatoos in my neighbors tree at about midday today on corner of Keymer road and Tilby St Cloverdale.
They are my favorite bird and I took several photos.
They were eating the berries and stayed for over an hour.
I could also hear other cockatoos in the trees of the local primary school.

Tarryn February 17, 2014

I have a few flocks settling on my property (eating berry's of the trees)that i rent they have not long come back to my place since the removal of the trees in the neighboring property for new housing. It will be a shame to see these lovely birds have to move due to more housing going up on my place in about 6 to 12 mths

Jen November 21, 2014

This afternoon I spotted about 5 red tail black cockatoos in the gumtrees outside the WACA in East Perth. 21st November 2014.

Michael December 23, 2014

This is so interesting a thread to read.
For some time I have been thinking that the number of Red Tail Blacks I have seen in the metro area is increasing.
Looking at this thread it coincides with the timeline from about 2012 when people start to notice birds where they had not seen them before.
I live in Floreat where I am told they have been for some while at the UWA Ag dept land on Underwood Avenue.
In the past few years a flock of about 30 birds have ventured to a large red flowering gum in my surrounding neighbourhood.Interestingly this appears to be a social tree as they do not destroy it in the same way as some other trees.
I cycle a bit these days and this year in particular have seen heard or evidenced the red tails in many locations around the inner Metro area. Leedervile Karrakata UWA City Farm Maylands Bayswater Fremantle and of course Kings Park to name some areas.
Is there any hard data to support these anecdotal observations?

Hayley Mayne January 5, 2015

Hi Michael,

Perhaps try contacting Ron Johnstone at the WA Museum, he may be able to help you. Ph: 1300 134 081.

Thanks

Tony and Lynne May 6, 2015

We have a block part cleared land in the North Dinninup area and on the 26th of April, for the first time, we had a small flock of red tails (maybe 8 or 10) in our jarrahs having a wonderful time feeding in the canopy. The birds were extremely healthy and quite unafraid of our presence. The following weekend they were still there but it was great to see them again. Our town of Boyup Brook has small flocks of red tails float through from time to time but much larger flocks of the Carnaby's Cockatoo are more prevalent.

Peter & Marilyn June 28, 2015

Hi,don't know if you're interested but we have a 20 acre block in Bullsbrook and have twice sighted a family of 3 coming in and sitting in a big gum tree close to the house. The baby just squawks away while the parents are preening. I haven' seen any here for 2 or 3 years so it was nice to see some again. Thanks.

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