Endangered cockatoo numbers continue to climb

·1-min read

Kangaroo Island's glossy black cockatoo population has produced an early cluster of nestlings in a boost to the endangered species.

A recovery team from the island's Landscape Board has banded 23 nestlings and expects up to 40 chicks to hatch over the full breeding season.

Project officer Karleah Berris said the early cluster of nestlings was a promising sign for a species only about 400-strong.

Grave fears had been held for the future of the birds after much of their habitat on the island was destroyed in the bushfires in early 2020.

"Initially after the bushfires, we were really worried because so much habitat had been taken out but I'm amazed how resilient they've been," Ms Berris said.

"There are quite large groups of birds persisting in these tiny patches of habitat in the west of the island.

"We're also feeling really positive because we've had so much population growth on the eastern end in unburnt areas."

Ms Berris said each of the birds located in specially-designed nesting boxes had been banded so they could be traced throughout their lives.

She said given glossy black cockatoos only raised one chick each year, the population recovery over the past 25 years had been strong, climbing from 158 birds in 1995 to more than 400 in the most recent count.

Conservation efforts have also included planting about 25,000 drooping sheoaks across the island, the bird's only source of food.