Sulphur-crested Cockatoos Colouration

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Subject: Sulphur-crested Cockatoos Colouration
From: Jack Shapiro <>
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 17:44:47 +1100
On Thursday  ( 23/10/03) while walking at Balmoral Beach (Mosman, NSW), I observed a group of 4 Sulphur-crested Cockatoos feeding on grass roots on the lawn.  One of them was had a light brown colouration to most of it feathers except the head.  In bright sunlight it looked brown, but perhaps under lesser bright conditions it may be viewed as "pinkish".  The bird itself looked exactly like the other cockatoos in its features, not like a hybrid.  I have seen hybrid of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Galahs, and this was not one of them. The bird didn¹t look dirty, but at the interface between the coloured and white regions of the plumage , the colouration didn¹t look natural.  This may well be an example of what Peter Fuller suggested a phenomenon related to nesting.   

Recently there has been correspondence on this type of observation in birding Aus, with Peter Fuller initiating the subject (Peter Fuller ; [BIRDING-AUS] Sulphur-crested Cockatoos colouration- 27, 28,29 August 2003).

What is curious is that such colouration has only been reported this year, and on other  different individuals of this species, at very diverse locations.  Could the dry weather this year be responsible in so indirect way ?

Jack Shapiro

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