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Urban ecology of the Sulphur-crested cockatoo

Start date:
01 Jan 2011
Dr Adrian Davis A/Prof Charlotte Taylor Dr Richard Major Dr John Martin 
Project sponsors:
Community through Pozible crowd funding (assisted by the Foundation and Friends of the RBGDT), on-going through the Foundation and Friends of the RBGDT 
Project partners:
University of Sydney, Australian Museum

Project aims

  • Assess site-fidelity, foraging movements and preferences in the Sydney region;
  • Assess the size of the Sulphur-crested cockatoo population; 
  • Engage citizen scientists to report sightings and behaviours of cockatoos; 

Project Summary

Sulphur-crested cockatoos are a recent urban colonist from the woodlands of the Cumberland Plain and beyond. Over the last few decades their population has adapted to the urban environment, including foraging from backyard feeders and directly from people. In urban areas tree hollows are a limited and precious resource and Cockatoos require large hollows which are likely to be the least common. Given the change in this species distribution and population this study aims to increase our understanding of this species foraging behavior and movement ecology.

Research Update

To date 100 birds have been wing-tagged. We have been overwhelmed by the community engagement in this project with >14,000 reports of tagged birds. From this we have seen birds move from the Botanic Garden within a 30km radius. Once birds join a flock they tend to forage within a 5km radius. However there are many aspects of the birds’ behavior we don’t understand. Reporting of wingtags has been enhanced by:

The Wingtags Project

The Wingtags iApp

The Wingtags Android App




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