Community survey dramatically improves understanding of Carnaby’s cockatoo breeding areas in the South West region

Community members across the South West Catchments Council (SWCC) region have recently contributed more than 150 sightings of black cockatoos, including the endangered Carnaby’s cockatoo, to an online survey aimed at understanding the habitat these birds are using across the region.

Prior to this survey, there were only two registered breeding sites for the Carnaby’s cockatoo within the agricultural areas of the SWCC region. Thanks to the efforts of the local community, a further nine breeding sites have been reported. Local Landcare groups will undertake detailed surveys of these nine sites in the breeding season, which is now underway. In addition to the nine breeding sites reported, a further 26 roosting sites and 91 feeding locations were also reported in the survey. Nineteen sightings of locations where cockatoos were drinking were also reported. Feeding and drinking sites are particularly important to understand, as the availability of these sites are crucial for the birds to breed successfully.

Photo credit: Keith Lightbody.

Many landholders also contributed to the survey by reporting that they had not seen black cockatoos using their properties. This information is almost as important as knowing where the birds breed, roost and feed, as it ensures that efforts are not wasted trying to find birds in areas that they don’t regularly use.

With Carnaby’s cockatoos now having moved inland to breed this year, SWCC is encouraging community members to continue to report sightings so they can gain insight into the different areas the birds inhabit across the SWCC region. Sightings can be recorded in the online survey: or they can be reported to your local landcare group.

The information gathered through this ongoing survey will help to guide on-ground work to improve breeding outcomes, by ensuring that nesting sites have enough hollows for breeding birds as well as having adequate feeding and watering areas within the area surrounding these sites.

This project is supported by the South West Catchments Council through funding from the Australian Government’s Environmental Restoration Fund. Read more about the project here.

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