Putting on a spread to save SA’s own Glossy Black-Cockatoo - Greening Australia FacebookGoogle PlusInstagramLinkedInTwitter

Putting on a spread to save SA’s own Glossy Black-Cockatoo

Greening Australia Operations Lead, Mick Durant, among Drooping Sheoaks planted for cockatoo habitat on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Credit Trim Photography.

Greening Australia and WOMADelaide are teaming up again in 2021 to offset the festival’s carbon emissions with biodiverse habitat plantings in South Australia.

The partnership to create WOMADelaide forests began in 2007 – that means since 2007, $2 from every single WOMADelaide ticket has been invested in revegetation and carbon footprint calculation.

The focus of our next planting is putting on a spread for a local icon – the South Australian sub-species of the Glossy Black-Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami halmaturinus). This bird is one of the rarest black-cockatoos in Australia and now found only on Kangaroo Island, having abandoned the mainland due to lack of habitat in the mid-1970s.

The South Australian sub-species of the Glossy Black-Cockatoo is now found only on Kangaroo Island.

In what is one of Australia’s most successful conservation efforts, the Kangaroo Island Glossy Black-Cockatoo Recovery Program and the Island community have managed to almost triple the population from a low of 158 individuals in 1995, to 454 in 2020.

But the danger of keeping all our eggs in one basket with this one isolated population has been made painfully clear by the 2019-2020 bushfires. It seems most of the birds evaded the fires on Kangaroo Island, but an estimated 54% of their feeding habitat and 35% of all known nests were destroyed.

Over the 2019-2020 summer, fires burned across half of Kangaroo Island, and directly impacted feeding and breeding habitat for the endangered SA Glossy Black-Cockatoo.

We desperately need to spread this risk. There’s just 12 km between Kangaroo Island and Cape Jervis on the mainland, and history has proven the Glossies can go the distance. By restoring feeding and breeding habitat on the Fleurieu Peninsula, it’s our vision that SA’s Glossies will become a common sight on the mainland once again.

The birds have a highly specialised diet – the seeds of the Drooping She-oak (Allocasuarina verticillata). They also require hollows for nesting near their feeding grounds, like those found in older Blue Gum, Pink Gum and Red Gum specimens on the mainland.

This photo shows some 23-year-old plantings for cockatoo habitat near Fishery Beach. Kangaroo Island can be seen just 12km away across the water. Credit Trim Photography.

Greening Australia has worked in partnership with the Coast Protection Board and local community to turn old pastures into habitat for the Glossies – and for many other species as well – in sites around Cape Jervis since 1998. The trees are growing well and setting seed, but we need to plant more, and close to established nesting trees as well.

Now WOMADelaide and festival goers are also part of turning this dream into a reality, helping build a more resilient future for SA’s Glossies. Together we’ll be planting habitat on the Fleurieu Peninsula, making sure that when Glossies return, they’ll never want to leave.

 

Read more about the WOMADelaide Forest