Glossy Black Cockatoo musings

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Glossy Black Cockatoo musings
From: "Evan Beaver" <>
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2008 10:16:07 +1100

I spent a long time trying to find my first pair of Glossies, and read
almost everything I could find to rty and help me out. Turns out the
best way to find them is to just follow Neil Kirby around and wait for
them to drop in and say g'day.

Since then a family group of 3 have been roosting in a gully near
home, so I hear them almost every morning as they head out to what
ever feeding tree they're using.

The reading I did, and some personal observations suggest that they
have a sensitive taste mechanism, and only eat casuarinas that are
ripe and nutritious. Further, when a tree comes on, they pretty much
eat every capsule on it, littering the ground with the spent corpses.

Near home there are 4 good casuarina that I've seen the birds feeding
in, but not for a while now. All 4 are in heavy seed and look to me
like good eating. The strange part is, a few nuts have been chomped,
but not many. I've observed this in a few places and developed a

The birds have a good memory, and can remember the location of many
trees they have previously eaten from. The seed capsules, like fruit
on a tree, get ripe as they develop. So, the Glossies keep a picture
of the trees they like, and every now and then, check how they're
going by spending some time tasting the seeds. To support this the
seed pods from the 'tasting sites' aren't nearly as thoroughly chomped
as when they're feeding. In this way they can keep track of good
feeding sites, and how they're going, and possibly even plan ahead,
with some idea of how long it will be before a given tree is ready to

Not sure how to test this theory; double blind trials with wild
animals are difficult to organise. Has anyone else observed similar
behaviour? Comments otherwise?


Evan Beaver
Lapstone, Blue Mountains, NSW
lat=-33.77, lon=150.64

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