As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Rare 'Ringo Starr' cockatoo faces extinction due to habitat loss in Far North Queensland

Updated 7 Mar 2019, 11:33pm
A rare and beautiful cockatoo, known as the "Ringo Starr" of the bird world, could be extinct in Australia within a decade unless urgent action is taken to protect its habitat in a remote part of Queensland.
Key points:
The Palm Cockatoo is extremely rare and is the only bird in the world that uses a tool musically.
Researchers are worried the bird will be extinct in a couple of decades due to habitat loss and low reproductive success.
The cockatoo is currently listed as vulnerable but researchers are building a case to reclassify it as endangered.
The Palm Cockatoo, which can make its own musical instrument, is only found on the top of Cape York in far north Queensland but its numbers are declining rapidly.
Researchers fear the distinctive black bird, which is Australia's largest cockatoo, could soon disappear because its habitat is being lost to mining and land clearing.
Professor Robert Heinsohn from the Australian National University has been studying the Palm Cockatoo since the 1990s and describes it as "one of the spectacles of the bird world".
"They are magnificent large parrots and very ancient ... right from the start of the family tree for parrots ... and they are just incredibly striking to look at," he said.
"They not only look good but are the rock stars of the bird world ... making drumsticks from branches and banging out tunes to attract the bird ladies."
Professor Heinsohn said the Palm Cockatoo is the only bird in the world that uses a tool musically.
"They break off a branch and peel back the bark, they whittle it down to about 30 centimetres and they hold it in their foot and tap on the edge of their nest hollow," he said.
"They have a very good sense of rhythm and different styles of drumming signatures.

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