Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Besides being an area of astounding beauty, with stunning coastlines and spectacular forests, the south west corner of WA is renowned for its variety of parrots and cockatoos. I saw the twelve species that inhabit this large and varied area, five of which are endemic to the state.

Cape Leeuwin

At the campground in Wellington National Park a very inquisitive Australian Ringneck got up close and personal, looking for a handout. This race is known locally as the Twenty-eight parrot after its distinct triple note call.   

Australian Ringneck  (Race semitorquatus)

Near Yallingup, we stopped on the road to Cape Naturaliste to watch a small group of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoos, a WA endemic, feeding in the top of some flowering gums. I love watching these big, raucous characters going about their business, with their buoyant flight and noisy antics. 

Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo

Another flock was heard from our campsite at Shannon National Park and I was able to track them down, to find them feeding on pine cones courtesy of the trees planted here previously by the forestry industry. 

Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo - female 

Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo - male

Sugarloaf Rock,  Leeuwin-Naturaliste Nat.Park

I had been hoping to see the very similar and endemic Baudin's Black Cockatoo, which has a more restricted range than the Carnaby's, so the further east we travelled the less my chances. I was rewarded with a lifer after following up some early morning calls at Shannon, to find a few feeding on the seed capsules in a grove of Marri trees, their preferred source of sustenance.

Baudin's Black-Cockatoo - male

The main feature differentiating these two species is the bill shape and length. Carnaby's: wider and more robust, comparatively shorter upper mandible. Baudin's: narrower, finer and longer upper mandible.       

The image below taken at Stirling Range National Park, where both species were present at Moingup campground, clearly shows the long upper bill. 

For a thorough and fascinating comparison of these endangered birds see here:

Baudin's Black-Cockatoo - female

The smallest of the rosella family, sole representative in southern WA and an endemic, was also present. We saw them mainly in the tall forests although it's habitat preferences are known to be more varied. They seemed  to be a shy bird, difficult to photograph and not particularly common.

Western Rosella - female

Mount Frankland National Park

At Torbay inlet near Albany, we came across a small party of Rock Parrots while walking along a four wheel drive track to the beach. They didn't seem to be too flighty, probably being used to the traffic and people in this popular area. Normally fairly quiet and unobtrusive, a couple obligingly posed long enough for a some shots.

Rock Parrot - immature

Rock Parrot - female

Torbay Inlet

Part two to follow soon.

Cheers & Happy Birding!