Gang-gang Cockatoo diet as assessed by camera images and written records

The diet of the endangered Gang-gang Cockatoo Callocephalon fimbriatum has not been well documented. The aim of this investigation was to collate and synthesise information from electronic and written sources to fill this knowledge gap and thus provide information that could assist in the species’ conservation. Four thousand one hundred and thirty five feeding records from across the species’ range were collated from image-based records posted on social media and citizen science platforms, and from the written records of bird observer clubs and bird group databases. There were 275 different food items recorded in these feeding records. Gang-gangs fed on seven main food groups: eucalypt nuts and flowers (43% of all feeding events); berries with relatively large seeds but a small pulp mass (21%); green cones of mainly the Pinaceae and Cupressaceae families (10%); wattles, almost exclusively in spring – early summer and on plants with green pods (8%); soft pods mainly of Liquidamber Liquidamber styraciflua (7%); nuts, mainly walnuts Juglans sp. and oak acorns Quercus sp. (3%), and invertebrates, mainly sawfly Pergidae sp. larvae and lerps Pysllidae sp. (1%). The Gang-gang’s diet varies across its range and this seems to largely reflect the particular food species that are available locally (both planted or indigenous to certain areas). However, there are both regional and overall food preferences. Just twelve taxa accounted for 54% of all feeding events, whilst most other food items were only recorded as being eaten once or twice. Twenty-six percent of the plant species eaten are exotic, which suggests that Gang-gangs can adjust to new food sources. Gang-gangs’ diet is broad and flexible and their food is abundant.

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