National sulphur-crested cockatoo population survey

Parrots are the real winners at surviving in suburbia, and the sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) is no exception.

Historically (c. 1805), collector George Cayley encounted 'large flocks in the long meadow near the Nepean River', but it is only since the 1950s that they have colonised Sydney itself and other urban areas. Cayley reported that 'they are shy and not easily approachable'. Today large flocks are at home in the very centre of Sydney where they commonly are the ones that do the approaching. Cockatoos capitalise on the 'good eating' on offer in suburban parks, gardens and our balconies.

How many are there? Help us find out!

Thanks for participating in the annual community survey of the sulphur-crested cockatoo population across Australia.

This year the survey is being held during Bird Week, between 21 and 29 October 2017. Please report your cockatoo sightings using the form below.

During Bird Week you can also contribute to the Aussie Backyard Bird Count through the Playstore or iTunes app.

We are trying to get a better understanding of the distribution and abundance of sulphur-crested cockatoos. This will help us to assess the habitats this species prefers. One of the questions we are attempting to answer is how many of these birds are actually in New South Wales?

We welcome all counts from across Australia, whether you travel to the local park or bushland reserve where you have seen cockatoos and conduct a count or if you coincidentally observe some cockatoos and conduct a count. Please provide as many details as possible using the below form.

Confusing species

You may also see the long-billed corella (Cacatua tenuirostris) or the little corella (Cacatua sanguinea). A way to distinguish these species from the sulphur-crested cockatoo is that they don’t have a yellow crest on their head.

Little corella (Cacatua sanguinea)

Little corella (Cacatua sanguinea)

Long-billed corella (Cacatua tenuirostris)

Long-billed corella (Cacatua tenuirostris)

Cockatoo behaviour and movements

Research is underway studying the ecology of cockatoos in the Sydney region to understand why they are so successful. To answer some key questions requires recognising and observing particular individuals. This is why a sample of cockatoos have been wing-tagged.

The Cockatoo Wingtag Project is finding out where they feed, where they roost, how long they live and how much they move around. Please help us by reporting sightings of tagged cockatoos. We welcome all reports, even if you see the same bird every day or multiple times within the same day. Regular reports of tagged birds allow us to build our understanding of individual birds behaviour.

Please report the location (street and suburb), date and tag number, you can also send a photo:

Please fill in all the fields, the fields marked with an * are mandatory. Your participation is greatly appreciated!

Community survey of the sulphur-crested cockatoo population

The information you provide in this form will only be used for the purpose for which it was collected. By submitting, you consent to storage, use, and disclosure of your personal information in accordance with our privacy policy. You can request access and amendment of your personal information.
Page last updated: 18 July 2018