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Sulphur-crested Cockatoo feeding on wattle seeds

(Cacatua galerita)
Alternate name(s): "White Cockatoo"
Aboriginal name(s): "gehr" [western bundjalung]; "gayambula" [ngadjon]; "kaneky", "mooyi", "kogga-longo", "arunta", "korina", "kudrungoo", "moorai", "nannawarra", "tingari"

Size: 45-50 cm
Weight: 835 g (average)

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The photos below give an impression of how Sulphur-crested Cockatoos not only feed on wattle seeds, but in the process strip half of the tree crown by chomping off the ends of twigs/branches, before feeding on the seeds by stripping those off what they are holding with one foot. While this looks destructive (and is unwelcome in the case of, e.g., introduced fruit trees), it may actually ensure the tree's survival by limiting the foliage's wind resistance in severe storms that were in the forecast when these photos were taken, in October 2020.

It may also be interesting to note that neither Galahs nor Little Corellas went into the tree/shrub for feeding, but made do with what the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos had dropped to the ground.

Overview of two wattles in full bloom, with lush foliage, and after harvesting

Single wattle tree/shrub in full bloom, with lush foliage, and after harvesting

Wattle seed pod on a low branch, out of reach of the birds

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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