Palm cockatoo reclassified as endangered as population drops

The rare and striking palm cockatoo has had its conservation status reclassified as endangered following a recent population drop.

Photo credit: Jim Bendon

Major habitat loss has been cites of the primary cause of the species’ decline. Australia’s palm cockatoos are found only in the rainforests of Cape York Peninsula, at the northern tip of Queensland. Land clearing due to mining and worsening bushfires due to climate change are shrinking the species’ already limited viable habitat.

Making matters worse; the palm cockatoo has an unusually slow rate of reproduction. Females lay only a single egg every two years. Research suggests that chick loss to due predation results in palm cockatoo pairs only producing—on average—a single offspring every ten years. There are thought to be fewer than 1,500 birds remaining in the wild.

Conservationists will continue trying to preserve their habitat with better fire management and cooperation with mining companies.