Volunteers turn out to spot Glossy Black Cockatoos

Tweed Shire Council and a keen band of birding volunteers again participated in the glossy black cockatoo annual birding day held in the Tweed in May.

The Glossy Black Cockatoo Birding Day covers the south-east Queensland and north-eastern NSW regions.  This year marks the fifth year for the Glossy Black Cockatoo Birding Day after it began on the Gold Coast in 2009.

The birding day is an initiative supported by the Glossy Black Conservancy and its partner agencies which aims to learn more about the distribution, habitat use and population numbers of the threatened glossy black cockatoo.

Council’s Biodiversity Planner, Marama Hopkins, said the annual birding days regularly draw up to 200 volunteers, who spend the day searching for glossy black cockatoos across nine regional Council areas, including Tweed and Byron.

“Their search efforts are rewarded with sightings of the rare and secretive birds, with hotspots in the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Scenic Rim Regions.”

Glossy black cockatoos are less gregarious and quieter than their yellow-tailed or red-tailed relatives and tend to travel in small groups of two or three. They are the smallest of the black cockatoos, have red panels on their tail feathers and do not have the prominent crests seen in other species. The females also have characteristic patches of yellow feathers on their heads.

‘Glossies’ are very specialist feeders, feeding only on the tiny seeds within a she-oak cone, and in the Tweed they feed almost entirely on the seeds of the forest oak, the black she-oak and the horse-tail she-oak.

“Volunteers are able to survey on public land where glossy black cockatoo feeding habitat is available or on their own properties,” Ms Hopkins said.

A workshop was held before the event to assist volunteers in identifying the glossy black cockatoo, identifying their feed trees and providing information on how to collect data.