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Wallaroo Station Animal Fact Sheet
PALM COCKATOO
Microglossus aterrimus

Range:
Northern Australia and Papuan Islands

Builds a dense nest as a precaution against heavy, tropical rains. Performs quite a courtship dance, which consists of erecting his crest, spreading his wings, stamping his feet, and giving off an assortment of whoops, shrieks, and clicking noises. Frequently, he will duck his head, turning it to one side, and gaze into the face of the female.

In captivity, it can be a gentle, tame bird and enjoys human touch. It is a long-lived, highly specialized feeder with a slow reproductive rate. The maxilla (upper beak) has great strength for cracking large nuts. However, the maxilla is almost hollow, and is therefore vulnerable to injury.

The most distinctive feature is the red, naked facial patches. The facial color can change due to stress, general health, and their environment. It can vary from a bright crimson, to a dull burgundy, to bluish.

Considered by many to be largest of the cockatoos.


Habitat: Tropical rainforest, wet, warm climates
Diet: Seed, nuts, fruits, berries, and leaf buds, the center of the palm cabbage. Primarily is an arboreal feeder, but has been seen on the ground feeding on seeds and fallen fruit.
Status: Least Concern (IUCN)
Approximate Dimensions of Adult: Can grow to 29 inches in length. The adult female is smaller and more slender than the male. Male is 1 ½ to 2 ½ pounds while the female is just over 1 pound to 3 pounds. Black coloring. The races from the New Guinea region have a grey tinge.
Lifespan: n/a
Reproduction & Offspring: Breeds August-January. However, eggs have been produced all year. 1 egg clutch. 28-31 days to pipping (emerging from the egg shell). 3-4 days to hatch. 114-144 days to fledge. The chick nests for a period longer than any other parrot species. Two weeks after leaving the nest, the chick is not fully competent to fly and continues to be fed by the parents for an additional 6 weeks.

 

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