Moluccan Cockatoo

 

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Range: Moluccan Islands, Indonesia

Habitat: Grasslands and forests

Natural Diet: Primarily seeds.

Diet at Rain Forest: Seed, fruits, & fresh greens.

Size: 2nd largest of all cockatoo species the Moluccan is a very large bird with showy peach colored feathers.  Like many of the large parrot family members, the Moluccan cockatoo is monomorphic.

The bird in this photo is Big Bird ,a male Moluccan, hatched in 1991.  Big Bird is aspiring to break the record held by Cookie at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, Il.  Cookie arrived in 1934 when the zoo opened and is still there today!  The average life span of a wild cockatoo is assumed to be 30-40 years. In captivity these animals can clearly live to be well into their 80's!

The Moluccan Cockatoo is an endangered species, and has been listed on appendix I of CITES since 1989, which makes trade in wild-caught birds illegal. Trade in captive bred birds is legal only with appropriate CITES certification. Numbers have declined due to habitat loss and illegal trapping for the cage-bird trade. During the height of the trapping of this species over 6,000 birds were being removed from the wild per year. It has a stronghold in Manusela National Park on Seram, although even today some illegal trapping continues. Surprisingly the species is not well-protected within Indonesia where a local trade continues to supply the internal pet market.

This bird is endemic to Seram, Ambon, Saparua and Haruku in South Maluku, Indonesia, but there are no recent records from Saparua and Haruku, and it may only survive at one locality on Ambon, leaving almost the entire population on Seram, where it was once abundant, but has suffered declines, including an estimated 20-40% in one region during the 1990s. It remains locally common in Manusela National Park and, perhaps especially, in east Seram.

 

Rain Forest Facts: This bird possesses a beautiful crest that is curved to the rear. A highly intelligent and friendly bird, the Moluccan is often the favorite of keepers who get to know these wonderful animals.

By the 1980s the species was being extensively and unsustainably trapped for the cage-bird market, with an estimated 74,509 individuals exported from Indonesia between 1981 and 1990, and international imports averaging 9,751 per annum between 1983 and 1988. Although reported international trade fell to zero in the 1990s, trappers remain highly active and birds are openly sold within Indonesia. Forest loss, degradation and fragmentation owing to commercial timber extraction, settlement and hydroelectric projects, poses the other major threat. It is predicted that half the current population on Seram may be lost to conversion of forest in the next 25 years1. Most forest has already been lost from Ambon and the coasts and lowlands of Seram. It has also been considered a harmful pest to coconut palms, and, historically at least, was consequently persecuted.

 

Status in Wild: Declining due primarily to loss of habitat.  Numbers may have never been large due to limited natural geographical range.

 

RainForest Adventures zoo, Smoky Mountains, Tennessee near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge TN