Roost site fidelity and resource use by Carnaby's cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus latirostris, on the Swan coastal plain, Western Australia

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis



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[Truncated] As the world’s human population increases an increasing proportion live in urban areas. At the same time, wildlife is also adjusting to living in urban areas. Despite this, most ecological research occurs outside urban areas. Conservation planning requires an understanding of the interaction of species and their environment across a variety of land uses.
Carnaby’s cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) is an endangered parrot that occupies the urban and peri-urban areas of Perth, the capital city of Western Australia, during the non-breeding season. An understanding of the spatial ecology of the species in the urban landscape is needed to find out where they roost at night, forage, drink, and how they move through the landscape in between these resources. This will allow identification of important habitat for this species so that it can be conserved and enhanced, and, also assist improved planning to guide where development may proceed with least impact to the species.
I attached satellite tracking devices to 24 study birds. These were debilitated wild birds that had been rehabilitated prior to release. The tracking devices showed that the study birds, which consisted of both adult and juvenile birds, had an overall annual survival rate of 73%. Follows of flocks containing study birds determined that they flew, roosted and foraged with wild flock mates. The survival and reintegration of the rehabilitated birds was essential to this study as it showed that they behaved as ‘normal’ wild birds, which then allowed the data that were collected to be used to reliably make inferences about the spatial ecology of wild birds.
The performance of the tracking devices exceeded expectations with regards to retention time, battery life and overall quality of the location fixes obtained. The tracking devices provided 10 806 location fixes while the study birds were alive, in the wild, with 6 026 location fixes accurate to within 500m. One tracking device was chewed until it was non-functional before release, and two were presumed chewed post-release because they failed prematurely. There was no evidence that the tracking devices inhibited the flight capability of the cockatoos.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
StateUnpublished - Jan 2015

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