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Photo of the Month: Philippine Cockatoo

by Willem Van d Ven

WBCP Vice-President Willem Van de Ven was in Narra, Palawan with a small WBCP contingent to support the Katala Foundation’s 9th Katala Day and mini-birdfest. While he was there, he was treated to amazing views of the endearing¬†Philippine Cockatoo.


Philippine Cockatoo. Photo by Willem Van de Ven.
Philippine Cockatoo. Photo by Willem Van de Ven.

The Critically Endangered Philippine Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropya) is quite at home in Narra, Palawan. They communally roost on the protected Rasa Island, or, occasionally, stay overnight in town. The group we were lucky to encounter early morning were leisurely eating malunggay (Moringa oleifera) seeds, which they take from the pods with extreme ease, holding them in one claw while balancing on the other. This female, recognizable by the red eyes (males have dark/black eyes), was one of 6 individuals in a tree in a backyard, around 6 or 7 meters from where we were observing them, and stayed for around 10 to 15 minutes before flying on again, probably back to their protected island home. The population of Narra, around 300 cockatoos, is one of the last remaining wild populations, and make up around 30% of the total world population of the species. All thanks to the Katala Foundation and their incredibly hard work over the past two decades! My hat off to you…

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