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Ιούλιος 23, 2021

Feral European Bees Western Australian Museum

The below excerpts have been extracted from the Western Australian Museum, web-link shared below.

The European honey bee (Apis mellifera) is an exotic species that was introduced into the Australian environment over 180 years ago. Honey bees were used to pollinate plants grown by early settlers for food - a task that was previously done by hand. Honey bees (managed hives) are now kept commercially for food and honey production, but feral bees have also become an increasing threat to our native hollow-dwelling fauna, particularly black cockatoos, through competition for suitable hollows, and possibly also competition for nectar.

Whilst conducting field work on the black cockatoos, the WA Museum has come across large numbers of feral bee hives that have taken over tree hollows. This has meant a reduction in the number of suitable hollows left for the obligate hollow-nesting species including cockatoos and other birds e.g. small parrots, Sacred Kingfisher and mammals e.g. possums and bats. A number of black cockatoo chicks, honeyeaters and owls have been found dead in these hollows, often stung or engulfed by swarming feral bees.

http://museum.wa.gov.au/explore/online-exhibitions/cockatoo-care/feral-bees

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Ιούλιος 27, 2021

ID feature white cockatoos from Leeuwin Birding Blog

The below article is from Leeuwin Birding Blog however it is without photos.

To see the entire article with photos to assist with ID between Baudin's and Carnaby's click on the link at the bottom of the page.

day, April 3, 2011

ID Feature: White-tailed Black-Cockatoos

Although recognised as distinct forms as long ago as 1933 (by none other than ornithologist Ivan Carnaby), Carnaby's (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) and Baudin's (C. baudinii) Black Cockatoos were only officially split by the first Christidis & Boles checklist in 1994 [1]. They are typically described in field guides as 'identical except for bill length', which can be unhelpful for birders who can't get a decent look at the upper mandible. We hope the following information is more useful!

Bill Length (but don't forget width!)
This is the obvious and defining difference between the two species, and reflects a difference in feeding habits. Baudin's use their very long mandible tips to carefully extract seeds from woody fruits (e.g. marri gumnuts), leaving little damage on the nut. Carnaby's tend to much more destructive and will chew the rim off marri nuts to access the seeds.

A male Baudin's Black-Cockatoo carefully hooks the seeds out of a marri nut. Note the brownish tinge to plumage (see General Description below).

Marri nuts after Baudin's Black-Cockatoos have been at work.

By contrast, Carnaby's Black-Cockatoos use their shorter, but broad and powerful mandibles to tear woody fruits apart. Unlike the delicate feeding of Baudin's, Carnaby's must break the rim off marri nuts to extract the seed.

Baudin's bills can be quite strikingly long and thin, hence the rule of thumb "if you only think it's long, it's probably a Carnaby's". However, an examination of multiple specimens in the WA Museum suggests there is variation in the length of the upper mandible tip in both species, and thus a small area of overlap. In fact, the more diagnostic feature of the bill is actually its width - hence Carnaby's gained the specific name latirostris for 'wide-nosed'. Seen from the front, Carnaby's have a broad, arched shape across the top of the bill, whereas Baudin's is more triangular and narrow. The best published illustration of the bills, from Johnstone & Storr [2], is reproduced in WA Bird Notes 89, p. 12 [6] - available online at http://www.birdsaustralia.com.au/the-organisation/wa-bird-notes.html.

Carnaby's (left) and Baudin's (right) specimens on public display in the galleries of the Western Australian Museum. Note that the bill length of both species is variable (possibly due to wear), so that 'long-billed' Carnaby's can approach 'short-billed' Baudin's in bill length.

The difference between bill width in Carnaby's (top) and Baudin's (bottom) is obvious from the front even if the mandible tip is hidden by feathers. Note the arch shape across the top of the Carnaby's bill, but more triangular or diamond shape of the Baudin's mandible.

Call
The standard line that "calls can be distinguished by experienced birders" seems to be written by people who could not, since they usually offer no further information! Visiting east coast birders should find the 'whee-orr' call of Carnaby's very close to that of the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, with which it has been treated as conspecific in the past.

By comparison, the call of Baudin's is slightly, but noticeably different:

  • calls are shorter (0.47s vs. 0.64s for Carnaby's in Saunders' classic study [7]) and sound clipped compared to Carnaby's
  • the interval between repeat calls in a series is also shorter than in Carnaby's
  • there is less separation of the two 'syllables' of the call (i.e. wheeor, rather than whee-oor; Carnaby's may also stretch their calls to three syllables - i.e. we-EER-oor)
  • calls are more shrill and 'shrieky' on the first syllable, whereas Carnaby's tend to sound 'lazier'.

Baudin's also have a more diverse repertoire of contact calls and whistles made while feeding, some of which are unique, partcularly a 'clucking' call. However, as always, take care when ID'ing by call as Baudin's can occasionally make Carnaby's-like calls and vice versa, so it's best to hear a few calls from the bird in question to confirm an ID.

To help illustrate the differences in call, here is a short video (c. 4min) featuring calls from both species.

More comparative audio is available at:

  • YouTube (great work by Don Kimball), see also another clip by Don featuring a group Carnaby's
  • Graeme Chapman's website (Carnaby's and Baudin's)
  • Xeno-Canto

General Description
Scientific texts such as Johnstone & Storr [2] have detailed, but quite literally word-for-word-identical plumage descriptions for the two species. Very few field guides offer any advance on "identical except for bill", but there do appear to be some subtle differences that may be useful, though not diagnostic.

  • Simpson & Day [3] pegs Baudin's as "smaller, browner", and many individuals certainly have a noticeable brownish sheen in strong light. Is it possible scientific descriptions have overlooked this feature while studying museum skins under artificial light?

A group of Baudin's Black-Cockatoos. Note the brownish sheen visible in strong sunlight. Is this a helpful ID feature - possibly!

  • HANZAB [4] illustrates (but does not confirm in the text) the female Baudin's as having more extensive pale fringing on the breast and belly feathers than female Carnaby's
  • Dimensions are subtly different: measurements in Johnstone & Storr [2] show the total length as very similar, but show a slightly longer tail length (and thus by deduction, slightly shorter body length) for Baudin's: 256-295mm (mean 271mm) against 250-275mm (mean 265mm) in Carnaby's. While there's generally at most a centimetre in it, field impressions of a slightly shorter tail in Carnaby's are supported by the measurements. Similarly, Neil Hamilton (ex-curator of birds at Perth Zoo) is quoted as saying Carnaby's is distinct for its "stockier" body, and "longer appearance of the legs" [5].

A female Baudin's Black-Cockatoo. Note the extensive grey fringes on the breast & neck feathers, and relatively long tail. Female Carnaby's are rarely this grey.

Distribution
Whilst both species form quite wide-ranging nomadic flocks in the period after the breeding season (i.e. late summer to winter), Baudin's are generally more predictable in their distribution. Essentially, Baudin's is a forest cockatoo and its heartland is the heavily forested south-west; unlike Carnaby's, it rarely enters the Wheatbelt proper.

In the Perth area, Baudin's only rarely stray onto the coastal plain (except for the eastern most foothills), so the large autumn flocks seen in suburban Perth are almost exclusively Carnaby's. Only south of about Lake Clifton-Waroona are Baudin's likely to occur on the coastal plain. The autumn-winter incursions by Baudin's are instead focussed on the Darling Scarp, north to the vicinity of Mundaring. North of a line from Wanneroo to Toodyay, Carnaby's becomes by far the more likely candidate for black-cockatoo sightings, and this area is in fact one of their traditional strongholds.

The Black-Cockatoo flocks seen around suburban Perth on the coastal plain (mostly in autumn-winter) are almost exclusively Carnaby's.

Feeding Habits
Both species feed regularly on Marri 'honkey nuts' (to use their local name), but Baudin's are far more reliant on them. They also feed on Bull Banksia (Banksia grandis), and pears and apples from orchards. Unfortunately, as a result of this, they are still shot illegally by some orchardists in some areas.

Carnaby's eat a much wider range of seeds and flowers, including heathland Banksia, Hakea, and Grevillea species, and a wider range of eucalypt and sheok fruits. In the metropolitan area, they also feed on introduced species, particularly pines, but also on occasion liquadamber and almond nuts. Indeed, a good rule of thumb is that if it's feeding in a pine, it's almost certainly a Carnaby's, as this is one of their favoured foods on the coastal plain, whereas Baudin's have rarely, if ever, been recorded using them. Further, because of their more varied feeding strategy, Carnaby's are also more likely to be seen feeding in low scrub or on the ground, though Baudin's do sometimes descend to feed on Erodium or dropped nuts.

Carnaby's are often seen feeding in surprisingly small shrubs.

If it's feeding in a pine tree, it's almost certainly a Carnaby's!

Finally, the usual word of caution - land clearing has progressively resulted in greater incursion of Carnaby's into the Jarrah-Marri forests of the south-west. In these areas, mixed flocks sometimes occur, so it pays to check carefully if in doubt.

It would be remiss to end an article on these two species without mentioning their conservation. Both species are threatened in WA due to their low reproduction rates, habitat loss, and in the case case of Baudin's, shooting. Records of their habitat usage can be significant in protecting these species, and we encourage birders in the west to participate in surveys and counts of these species - see the Birds Australia Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo recovery project page for more information about what's being done and how you can get involved. The WA Conservation Council has also launched a web-based petition for black-cockatoo habitat protection.

References
[1] Christidis L. & Boles W. (1994) The Taxonomy and Species of Birds of Australia and its Territories. RAOU, Melbourne.
[2] Johnstone R. & Storr G. (1998) Handbook of Western Australian Birds Volume 1: Non-passerines (Emu to Dollarbird). Western Australian Museum, Perth.
[3] Simpson K. & Day N. (1993) Field Guide to Australian Birds 3rd Edition. Penguin Books, Australia.
[4] eds. Higgins P.J. & Davies S.J.J.F (1999) Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds Volume 4: Parrots to Dollarbird. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
[5] Chapman T. (2000) Cockies in Crisis. Western Australian Bird Notes 95, p. 9.
[6] Burbidge A. & Johnstone R. (1999) Short-billed or Long-billed - which Black-Cockatoo? Western Australian Bird Notes 89, pp. 12-14.
[7] Saunders D.A. (1979) The distribution and taxonomy of White-tailed and Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos Calyptorhynchos spp. Emu 79, pp. 215-227.

Further Information

  • WA Museum Fact Sheets for Baudin's and Carnaby's
  • Some food sources of both species here
    Posted by WA Birding Blog at 5:17 PM
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    Labels: Endemics, ID Features

https://wabirdingblog.blogspot.com/2011/04/id-feature-white-tailed-black-cockatoos.html?fbclid=IwAR2omK58IvrXMhwojmRhc_reu-G3An38wte69lyGp9T1j6WoSqRVWtgTj-E

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Ιούλιος 31, 2021

Cockatoo Research Project 2019 Western Australian Museum

MAJOR OUTCOMES AND ACHIEVEMENTS OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS
The major achievements of this project include:

  1. Reassessing the status of Baudin’s Cockatoo. Following our conservation advice to the
    Department of the Environment and Energy – Baudin’s Cockatoo had its status transferred from
    the Vulnerable category to the Endangered category in February 2018.

  2. Documenting and mapping the changing foraging ecology of many Forest red-tailed black
    Cockatoos in the northern Darling Range west onto the Swan Coastal Plain and east into the
    wheat belt. Over the past 20 years the foraging ecology of some populations in the northern
    Jarrah-Marri forest has changed with flocks that were once largely sedentary have now
    developed regular movements onto the Swan Coastal Plain and in some places established new
    roost sites and breeding sites. This movement has led to an erroneous impression in the Perth
    region that this subspecies is expanding its range and increasing in abundance. Furthermore, the
    altered foraging behaviour has led to changes in distribution and roosting patterns that appear to
    influence breeding success. In 2016 almost no Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo were recorded
    breeding at any of our study sites and no juveniles were recorded in the northern Jarrah forest or
    on the Swan Coastal Plain. This indicates that this population may be at greater risk than
    originally thought (see Johnstone, Kirkby and Sarti 2017).

  3. Identifying and monitoring Baudin’s Cockatoo breeding sites in northern Jarrah-Marri forest. Now
    a much better understanding of breeding sites, timing of breeding events and breeding biology in
    this area.

  4. Prioritising targeted surveys on southern Swan Coastal Plain (Perth-Peel region) to determine
    habitat use (study of food resources) by cockatoos especially Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoos in
    roadside verges.

  5. Data generated from this program used by State and federal government agencies especially
    information on distribution, status, movements and important habitats to enable the
    conservation of critical areas.

  6. Analysing nest tree mortality. Monitoring nest hollows. The Jarrah-Marri forests of southwestern Western Australia occupy about 1.6 million hectares (Whitford and Williams 2001).
    Logging of these forests since the 1860s has preferentially removed the larger trees that are most
    likely to provide nesting hollows suitable for Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo and Baudin’s
    Cockatoo. Tree hollows tend to occur in mature, senescent and dead (stag) trees and the useful
    habitat life of these trees is limited by natural factors such as fire, decay, wind throw or storm
    damage and purposeful destruction by further clearing. Of the 53 trees revisited in 2018 that
    were located in the period 1992–2003, a total of 25 trees with nest hollows were lost completely
    and 4 nest hollows were lost through falling limbs and fire, but the tree was still standing giving
    an overall loss of 29 trees giving a loss rate of 54.7%. This highlights the fact that managing fire in
    a way that maintains habitat resources for hollow dependent cockatoos requires further detailed
    research on the impact of fire (both wildfire and control burns), but not the status quo.

  7. Identifying fire as major threat. Fire is obviously the major cause of tree fall of actual nest trees and
    of future or potential nest trees and hence the retention of the right type and number of hollowbearing trees is essential to prevent the rapid collapse of hollow-bearing trees in the Jarrah-Marri
    forest.
    The continuing net loss of actual and potential nest trees by fire should be considered as a Key
    Threatening Process in the Jarrah-Marri forest.

  8. Evaluating differences in contact Calls. Early in 2015 we began to analyse the vocalisations of
    both Baudin’s and Carnaby’s Cockatoos. From these it was evident that Baudin’s Cockatoo has a
    much shorter contact call compared to Carnaby’s Cockatoo. Furthermore there are distinct
    differences between male and female contact calls of Baudin’s Cockatoo in contrast to the
    contact calls of Carnaby’s Cockatoo where both male and female contact calls are identical (see
    Contact Calls of Baudin’s Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus baudinii, R. E. Johnstone and T. Kirkby, 2015).
    This work has important implications in showing that Baudin’s Cockatoo and Carnaby’s Cockatoo
    are indeed separate species and must be managed as separate entities. As part of this project,
    further study on cockatoo vocalisations continued throughout 2018.

  9. Implementing broad scale surveys. Surveys over the past five years have highlighted the
    importance of: parts of the southern Swan Coastal Plain, Bindoon region, Wungong Catchment,
    Serpentine hills, Whicher Range area, Frankland National Park and Hyden region.
    10.Developing a food library, photographic library and audio library (including regional dialects) for
    all three species.
    11.Mapping the expansion of some super abundant native species e.g. Galah, Rainbow Lorikeet, and
    corellas into the south-west. These species compete for hollows and food with cockatoos.
    12.Publicising and raising awareness of the status and conservation needs of these birds through
    information sheets, scientific papers and seminars (see Figure 23).

  10. Development by Tony Kirkby of a pole camera for monitoring nest hollows. In 2012 he observed
    window cleaners using an 18 m pole to clean windows in the United Kingdom. We also
    developed a method of measuring nest hollow depth and width using the same poles.

  11. Baudin’s Cockatoo was named in 1832 by the famous English artist and poet Edward Lear in
  12. Unfortunately Lear’s painting gave no description, measurements or locality data and the
    whereabouts of the type (reference) specimen was a mystery, assumed lost.
    Lear’s illustration was assumed by cockatoo researchers to be the long-billed form, and looking
    at the drawing it appears that way. The other white-tail, Carnaby’s Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus
    latirostris, was described by Ivan Carnaby from WA in 1948 and it differed from Baudin’s in its
    short heavy bill and call. The “lost” specimen used by Lear was recently rediscovered in the
    National Museums Liverpool and to our amazement it was the short-billed Carnaby’s Cockatoo.
    This proved a dilemma as to how we could conserve the long-established names of baudinii for
    the long-billed Baudin’s Cockatoo and maintain latirostris as the valid name for Carnaby’s
    Cockatoo. The scientific solution was to have the holotype of baudinii Lear, set aside and
    replaced with a neotype of a specimen of Baudin’s Cockatoo so as not to destabilise longestablished names. A scientific paper was prepared for the Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature
    that was published in September 2014.
    This highlights the value of collaborative research on an international level involving researchers
    in Australia, United Kingdom, France and the United States and also the value of museum
    specimens, both old and new, in resolving biodiversity questions.

To read the entire research project click on the link below.

https://museum.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/Black%20Cockatoo%20Research%20Project%20-%20Final%20Report%202019%20DOH.pdf

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