Last year I alerted the list to the recent annual movement (since 1991) of
Red-tailed Black Cockatoos (RTBC) into the Toowoomba area to feed on White
Cedar, and tried to ascertain whether this was a localised phenomenon.
Well, they're back in town again, the first report being of a flock of 6
birds on 12 February. (Last year they arrived the first week of January).
One might of thought they'd give us a miss this year, given the favourable
widespread conditions, so it certainly appears that Toowoomba region has
been included on their yearly agenda, regardless of prevailing climatic
The limited feedback last year suggests RTBC are a rarity elsewhere in SE
Qld, until you get to the Gympie region, about 150 km northeast of Toowoomba
as the cocky flies. South of Gympie, there are occasional sightings in the
Sunshine Coast hinterland (reports from Mooloolah, Caboolture, Peachester
occurred last year; past sightings in the Conondale Ranges), and regular
sightings in the immediate areas around Toowoomba, including Helidon and
Grantham in the Lockyer Valley east of Toowomba, but apparently none further
east, including the Ipswich/Brisbane metropolitan area.
While I'd like to think Toowoomba is the newly-established RTBC capital of
SE Queensland, increasingly, I now suspect that the RTBC have been regularly
visiting other areas of SE Qld as well, but have either gone unreported,
been misidentified, or simply dismissed as Glossy Black Cockatoos or
Yellow-taileds, as both these species have traditionally been the more
likely ones seen in these parts. Is anyone involved with the Glossy BC
surveys prepared to comment on this?
So here's a challenge for all birders around SE Qld and northern NSW. To
establish the extent and magnitude of the RTBC influx into southeast
Queensland, let's see if we can track the current SE Queensland influx this
year through Birding-Aus. Not sure how many of you live in these parts, but
worth a try, anyway. I'd also like to establish where the birds are coming
from, but this may only become apparent once the Atlas results become
What's the story further west? And in northern NSW? Have they disappeared
from your patch recently? Where have they been seen in the last 4 months
during the Toowoomba "off-season"?
Please post details of RTBC sightings (or recent lack of them) to me,
preferably via Birding-Aus, for the benefit of interested parties.
Hopefully, a pattern will emerge and we can lay this one to rest. I won't
sleep easy until I know.
Thanks in advance.
Michael Atzeni, Toowoomba
Phone +61 7 4688 1318 Fax +61 7 4688 1192
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