Bringing Back the Glossy Black

Revegetation at Morgans Beach, Fleurieu Peninsula. Revegetation at Morgans Beach, Fleurieu Peninsula.

In an effort to entice the endangered Kangaroo Island Glossy Black-Cockatoo back to the South Australian mainland, we are working to restore critical feeding habitat for the birds on either side of the Backstairs Passage.

Once common on the mainland, Glossy Black-Cockatoos, large parrots noted for their powerful bill and scarlet red panel on their tail feathers, are now locally extinct. On nearby Kangaroo Island however there is a healthy and steadily increasing population.

With research indicating that the cockatoo could be tempted back across to the mainland if suitable sheoak woodland is protected and re-established, we are working alongside Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, and Natural Resources Kangaroo Island, to restore 170 hectares of feeding habitat.

This will involve the establishment of 136,000 trees and associated understory at Cape Jervis on the Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island.  

Glossy Black-Cockatoo. Photo cc Daniela Parra I Flikr Glossy Black-Cockatoo. Photo cc Daniela Parra I Flikr

Glossy Black-Cockatoos have highly specialised habitat and dietary needs, relying on quality Drooping Sheoak cones and large hollow-bearing eucalypts for roosting and nesting. Due to large scale clearing of these trees for farming in the 1900’s, populations of the cockatoo have declined dramatically. Onground work will focus on re-establishing these critical species.   

Community involvement plays a key role in the project, with locals involved in growing plants and planting events. This serves to a connect the local community with the project and give them a greater appreciation for the threatened cockatoos and their environment.

There are already early signs of success, with a group of young males called ‘scouters’ spotted searching for new food sources on the Dudley Peninsula, the part of Kangaroo Island that lies the closest to Cape Jervis.

The project is funded through the Australian Government’s 20 Million Trees Programme, part of the National Landcare Programme.