Monday, June 8, 2020

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo in Manokwari
Photo: Charles Roring
When I go birdwatching in Lowland Forest of Manokwari, I choose Mesirrokow river as my favorite destination. It is a shallow river that has got wide open space. When I and some foreign birdwatchers walk along the sides of the river, we frequently see Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) sitting on the branch of a tree or flying over the river. The bird has got fully white plumage with some yellow in underwing and undertail feather. Crest is yellow. Bill and feet are greyish black. Physically, their colors look totally different from their relatives the Palm Cockatoo. The bird usually makes noisy squawking sound that attracts the attention of birdwatchers.
Sometimes I see one but more often a couple sitting or flying side by side.
Birdwatching tour in tropical rainforest of West Papua
French Tourists were watching birds in Manokwari
During fruiting season, Sulfur-crested Cockatoo fly in larger groups. They are seen as pests by farmers who plant papaya, corn and other crops in their garden.
In breeding season, this cockatoo makes a nest in big iron-wood tree sometimes 20 to 30 meters above the ground. Parents will make hole using their strong bill to store their eggs. Usually there are three eggs per nest.

Hunters Accurate Prediction
Local hunters can accurately predict how old the nestling period of the baby cockatoes is by examining the seeds of fruits that fell on the ground. When the eggs are being incubated or baby cockatoes are being raised, fruits are supplied to the hole of the nest by one of the parents. They take turn in collecting fruits from the surrounding forest. Seeds that are thrown out of the nest fall to the grown and grow. When the seedlings are small, hunters say baby cockatoes still do not have feather. When the seedlings have grown higher, they can conclude that feather have grown and covered the baby cockatoes.
Bird Trading
In Indonesia, the bird is caught in West Papua and other small islands around it and traded as pets to larger cities. Population of the bird is still large in the forest. However, in recent years, continuous conversion of rainforest area into sawit-palm, cocoa and coffee plantations or other monoculture crops, combined with expansion of human settlements and road construction have caused rapid shrinking of cockatoo population and other wild animals in the forest of New Guinea and its nearby islands. Birdwatching tourism is now seen as an alternative income generation for villagers near forest areas in Klasow valley, Arfak mountains, Raja Ampat and Mesirrokow forest of West Papua as well as in many other areas in Tangkoko National Park, Bali Barat NP, Lore Lindu and various other places in Indonesia. written by Charles Roring.

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