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Bringing back the Glossy Black-Cockatoo

Glossy Black-Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus lathami), the smallest of Australia’s five black cockatoos, are listed as vulnerable in NSW and the ACT.  But now thanks to the collaborative efforts of five separate projects – and overwhelming community support for this threatened species – the future will see many more feeding options become available in the Canberra region.

The Glossy Black-cockatoo feeds almost exclusively on the cones and seeds of mature age Drooping She-oaks (Allocasuarina verticillata). A number of factors have contributed to habitat loss including land clearing, ongoing loss of hollow-bearing trees, urbanisation, susceptibility of the Drooping Sheoak to browsing, and lack of regeneration from over-grazing.

We got involved in helping the Glossy Black-Cockatoo in 2010 when ACT Parks and Conservation Service engaged us to plant 5,000 Drooping Sheoak in two Canberra Nature Parks. All with the invaluable help of 320 keen volunteers.

This inspired others to also invest resources in to what is becoming a regional program in its own right. By the end of 2014 more than 22,000 seedlings will have been planted in prime habitat locations on public and private land.

Over the years we’ve used our expertise in seed collecting, propagation and on-ground logistics with community planting events to help support a whole host of other achievement, including:

  • Kosciuszko to Coast (K2C) successfully planted 10,670 trees across 25 properties whilst engaging with 350 volunteers. This was funded through the Great Eastern Ranges corridor program.
  • Royalla Landcare Group will have planted 7000 trees with local landholders from two self-initiated projects in 2012 and 2014.
  • ACT Parks and Conservation Service will, in addition to the first 5000 trees planted at Isaacs Ridge Nature Reserve and Tuggeranong Hill Nature Reserve, added another 500 trees to Wanniassa Hills Nature Reserve.

One of the most rewarding aspects for us has been the ability of the program to capture community interest – from farmers and volunteers to ACT ministers and city mayors. Everyone has got behind the Glossy Black-Cockatoo and the need to improve its foraging habitat in the region.

We’ve already got one eye on the future too. Future Glossy Black-Cockatoo projects are envisaged and we continue to encourage the planting of nest-tree species and associated shrubs amongst the sheoaks. This diversity will also improve the habitat options for other animals, particularly declining woodland bird species such as the Hooded Robin and Brown Treecreeper.

Finally we’d like to say a special thanks to our volunteers and some of the other key stakeholders, including ACT Parks and Conservation Services, Royalla Landcare, Queanbeyan Landcare, Molonglo Catchment Group, Kosciuszko to Coast, Canberra Ornithologists Group, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Bush Heritage Australia and Friends of Grasslands.

Together we’re making a difference. And if you’d like to stay up-to-date with this and the rest of our projects please sign up for our exclusive email updates.

Drooping Sheoak community planting event

“Fifty” the Glossy Black-Cockatoo  eating a Drooping Sheoak