Endangered glossy blacks spotted on Kangaroo Island for the first time after bushfires

By Australian Geographic March 9, 2020
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There’s hope for Kangaroo Island’s glossy black cockatoos after all.

INDIVIDUALS BELONGING to a distinct population of endangered glossy black cockatoos have been spotted on Kangaroo Island after fears they’d been wiped out completely.

It’s estimated that only 370 of the cockatoos lived on Kangaroo Island prior to the fires, and 75 per cent of that population lived within the 210,000 hectare area that was burnt.

The burnt area also contained nearly 60 per cent of the cockatoo feeding habitat and over 100 artificial nest boxes.

One of the black cockatoos spotted after the bushfires. (Image credit: WWF)

Three females were found in nesting boxes in Lathami Conservation Park on the north coast of the island during surveys conducted by WWF and Natural Resources Kangaroo Island.

Karleah Berris from Natural Resources Kangaroo Island, who was leading a survey in the area, said it was a sign that life is returning.

“It’s amazing to see these cockatoos trying to nest in this burnt area. Incredibly there are healthy pockets of sheoak trees that survived the flames and they’re providing desperately-needed food for these birds.

“Many of our cockatoo pairs rely entirely on artificial nesting boxes to breed, so it’s crucial for us to assess the damage and install new nests where there’s feeding habitat.”

During the 2019/2020 bushfire crisis, half of Kangaroo island was consumed by fire, threatening the existence of many of the unique animals on the island, including the Kangaroo Island dunnart.

Related: Australia’s five black cockatoos