Moluccan Cockatoo

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Common Name: Salmon-crested or Moluccan Cockatoo
Scientific Name: Cacatua moluccensis

Size: 18-20.5 inches (46-52cm)

Habitat: Asia; endemic to Seram, Ambon, Saparua and Haruku in South Maluku, Indonesia. It is largely resident in lowland rainforest up to 1,000 m.

Status: Threatened. Global Population: 62,000 Mature individuals and decreasing. By the 1980s the species was being extensively and unsustainably trapped for the cage-bird market, with an estimated 74,509 individuals exported from Indonesia between 1981 and 1990, and international imports averaging 9,751 per annum between 1983 and 1988. Although reported international trade fell to zero in the 1990s, trappers remain highly active and birds are openly sold within Indonesia. This illegal trade was prolific during religious riots during 2004, and baseline estimates suggest 4,000 birds are removed from the wild annually in domestic trade. Commercial timber extraction, settlement and hydroelectric projects, pose the other major threats through resultant forest loss and fragmentation. It is predicted that half the current population on Seram may be lost to conversion of forest in the next 25 years. Most forests has already been lost from Ambon and the coasts and lowlands of Seram. It has also been considered a harmful pest to coconut palms, and, historically at least, it was consequently persecuted.

It has been listed on Appendix I and II of CITES since 1989, a measure that effectively curtailed reported trade at the international level. It occurs in Manusela National Park on Seram, although it is not clear what level of protection this affords. Existing protected areas on Seram could support c.9,800 birds, but there is a worrying 30% overlap between these areas and logging concessions. A program of local awareness, linked with the promotion of ecotourism, has recently been launched. ProFauna Indonesia carried out an investigation into domestic trade in 2003/2004.

Diet: Berries, nuts, seeds, coconuts and insects and their larvae.

Breeding: The female is larger than the males on average. Cockatoos bond for life.

Breeding season in the wild occurs between June and August. They nest in cavities of dead trees (approx. 80 feet (25m) above ground). Wood chips are placed at the base of the cavity nests. Clutch size is generally 2 to 3 white eggs which are incubated for 25 to 30 days. Both parents help with the incubation process, only leaving the nest to feed. The young are on their own at three months of age.

Cool Facts: Under the Wild Bird Conservation Act, the Salmon-crested Cockatoo is prohibited from being imported into the United States. However, US born cockatoos are being bred in captivity. They are popular for their beauty and trainability (which makes them popular in trained bird shows).

Found in Songbird ReMix Threatened, Endangered, Extinct 3

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