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Griffith University Research Project

Glossy Black-Cockatoos are labelled as Vulnerable in Queensland and Threatened on a National Level. Presently, little is known about the current movements of the Glossy's populations and their specific habitat selection.

Project leader:

Dr Guy Castley (g.castley(at)

Project overview

The Glossy Black-Cockatoo project aims to assess the current distribution and habitat use of Glossy Black-Cockatoos in the Gold Coast area in order to ensure that habitat preservation for the Glossy Black-Cockatoo can be made with greater accuracy and ensure their survival in the future. The following areas are being researched as part of this project:   
  • Distribution and habitat use
  • Population trends and performance
  • Movement patterns, tracking and flight paths 

Harness testing

Prior to the envisaged attachment of transmitter units to track the Glossy Black-Cockatoo in SEQ a number of testing activities were conducted at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and Priam Parrot Park to determine how the attachment of collars will effect the behaviour of the Glossy Black-Cockatoo. Trial backpack harnesses were used (approx. 9g) and fitted to three birds in captivity (with a further three birds used as controls). 

These trials demonstrated that despite the bird's activity returning to 'normal' behaviour within a relatively short space of time (less than two weeks) in some cases where birds were in a bonded pair situation the mate chewed off the transmitters. As a result future tracking efforts will attempt to limit such destructive activity by using tail mounted VHF transmitters on a selection of birds to evaluate their movement patterns. To date no birds have been captured as reliable capture sites on the Gold Coast have been hard to come by.


Tracking methods

Tracking bands

Coloured bands will be attached to a certain number of Glossy Black-Cockatoos. The colour of the band will be determined based on the region in which the bird is captured. At present, the Gold Coast will be split up into seven different regions, with each region receiving a recognizable colour.

Sightings from the public and other sources will then be documented to determine the habitat usage of the Glossy Black-Cockatoos. Reporting's of Glossy Black-Cockatoo sightings with and without bands attached will also allow for population estimates of the Gold Coast sector.

VHF monitoring

The project hopes to trap and attach transmitters to ten Glossy Black-Cockatoo initially. The birds will be caught using mist nest by bird banders accredited with the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Authority. These birds will be fitted with tail mounted VHF transmitters before being released. Intensive ground based tracking efforts will then be used by researchers to assess the daily movement patterns of these individual birds for as long as the transmitters remain on the birds.

Past projects

A number of other projects have been undertaken by Griffith University in regards to Glossy Black Cockatoos. 

Griffith's Associate Professor Clyde Wild, Michelle Stock and Gold Coast City Council's Evan Thomas undertook a study on factors influencing choice of feed trees by the Glossy-Black Cockatoo in South-East Queensland to determine if non-feed trees and feed trees of Allocasurina littoralis had any significant differences. It found that feeding trees of A.littoralis appeared to have larger seeds when compared with non-feed trees. Allocasurina torulosa were also measured in this study and the feed trees of this species displayed a larger girth width when compared with non-feed trees.


Report a sighting

Reporting sightings of Glossy Black-Cockatoos is essential in the tracking and monitoring of birds. Even birds without coloured bands should be reported as it will help gain a wider insight into their behaviour and distribution. Please use the link below to report your sightings or contact Dr Guy Castley (g.castley(at)

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