Sulphur-crested cockatoo national population survey

We are trying to get a better understanding of the distribution and abundance of sulphur-crested cockatoos.

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 encountered '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.

Help us find out how many there are

The annual community survey of the sulphur-crested cockatoo population across Australia was last held held during Bird Week 2017.

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

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: