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Diary of a Palm Cockatoo (part 4)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 10:30am
palm cockatoo 58 Days.jpg palm cockatoo 63 days.jpg palm cockatoo 70 Days.jpg

Hi Everyone

It’s a girl ! We have received results from DNA sexing and they have confirmed that our chick is a female. She is continuing to do well and has been staying at the Zoo full time since she reached 2 months of age. She is now only being fed twice a day during work hours with a drink of water around lunch time to keep her well hydrated.

The wing flapping photo shows how much feather growth is occurring at the moment. The huge primary and secondary flight feathers are still mostly enclosed by the sheaths that protect the feather as it grows. The feathers are very sensitive when they are growing and being bumped or broken can cause a lot of bleeding as each one has a blood supply until it has finished growing.

Most of her energy is still being directed towards feather growth at this stage as her body is getting close to full size. She has also almost reached her peak weight. The peak weight occurs before fledging as this gives a little extra leeway for increased energy requirements at this time. Parent reared chicks are also sometimes starved out of the nest by their parents. They need a little extra weight to ensure that they survive this period. It will probably still be another two to three weeks before she fledges and starts flying.

She is becoming much more interested in her surroundings and is starting to pick things up and manipulate them with her beak and tongue. We now give her a small bowl of food and a fruit kebab everyday to give her something to chew on and to start introducing solid food. Although she isn’t actually eating anything by herself yet we have seen evidence that she is starting to chew. She has also made a few very clumsy attempts to use her right foot to hold food. This usually results in a face plant into the sawdust.

Our next big step will be fledging and introducing her to her parents so that she gets some much needed socialization to help her learn that she is in fact a cockatoo and not a person.

I will keep you posted.


Bird Keeper, Adelaide Zoo


Gee, you certainly have a beautiful baby there! what a delight it must be to watch the progress and development of the little ladies personality. thank you for sharing the diary of her progress.
Posted By: Mare on Wednesday, December 22, 2010 4:59pm
GORGEOUS. I HAVE 6 PARROTS nd i wish i owned one of them.very unique. nice site.
Posted By: JEAN GARRISON on Friday, December 31, 2010 6:02am
What will be the future for this bird? I understand that it is a Goliath/ Australian Palm Cockatoo Hybrid. Should zoos be hybridizing species?
Posted By: Josh on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 12:05pm
This bird will be used for display and may in the future have a role as an ambassador for endangered parrots. As a general rule we don’t generally let any of our bird species hybridise. In the case of our palm cockatoos however there is little distinction between the two subspecies. Our female is Probosciger aterrimus and our male Probosciger aterrimus aterrimus and there is very little difference between the two. There is also evidence that Palm cockatoos Island hop across Torres Straight from Cape York to PNG providing a route for gene transmission between the different subspecies. Our aim with breeding from this pair was primarily to try to ensure that we can maintain this species in captivity potentially for the next 60 years. We also wanted to ensure that we have the expertise with this species that if we did have to intervene with the wild population and bring birds into captivity we have the confidence that we can be successful with maintaining and breeding them in captivity. We feel that these reasons far outweigh the significance of our new Palm cockatoo being a hybrid between two subspecies that are very similar.
Posted By: Trena, Zoos SA on Wednesday, January 12, 2011 1:02pm

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