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Great Cocky Count

The Great Cocky Count , also known as the Great Cockatoo Count , is an annual census designed to provide accurate data on the number and distribution of black cockatoos . It is the largest single survey of black cockatoos in Western Australia . [1]

The count is a citizen science survey and is conducted in the fall, usually in early April. [2] It was first held in 2009 and has been conducted each year since. [3]

Over 450 volunteers participated in the 2014 count at times of locations between Geraldton and Esperance, Western Australia . [3]

The 2015 count had over 600 volunteers surveying over 300 sites, with the endangered Carnaby’s black cockatoo being the main focus of the count but the vulnerable Baudin’s black cockatooand forest red-tailed black cockatoo also being counted. [4] [5]

In 2016 a total of 426 roost sites were surveyed by approximately 700 volunteers. The results included:

  • 16,392 white-tailed cockatoos recorded at 100 occupied roosts.
  • 1,907 red-tailed forest black cockatoos recorded at 66 occupied roosts
  • 4,897 Carnaby’s black cockatoos were found at a single roost site

It was estimated that 27% of the black cockatoos that inhabit the west of Western Australia were counted in a single night. [6]

The long-term results from the surveys, which have been conducted since 2009, have found that the Carnaby’s black cockatoo population of the Perth-Peel has a relatively low rate of approximately 15 per cent each year. There has been a drop in flock size and fewer occupied roost sites around Perth, mostly as a result of increased urban sprawl. 46% of the population are found in the Gnangara pine plantation, which is scheduled to be cleared by 2030. [7] The reduction in numbers is mostly a result of clearing breeding grounds and reducing their range. Currently the birds are thought to be using all available habitat, which is barely enough to support the population. [8]


  1. Jump up^ “Great Cocky Count” . Birdlife Australia. 2016 . Retrieved 3 September 2016 .
  2. Jump up^ “2016 great cocky count” . Southcoast Natural Resource Management. 2016 . Retrieved 3 September 2016 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:b “Record number of volontaires sign up for Great Cocky Count” . Australian Broadcasting Corporation . April 2, 2014 . Retrieved 15 September 2016 .
  4. Jump up^ Rhiannon Bristow-Stagg (28 April 2016). “Great Cocky Count takes the Avon Valley” . Science Network Western Australia . Retrieved 4 September 2016 .
  5. Jump up^ “Join the Great Cocky Count 2016” . Weekend Notes . On Topic Media Pty. Ltd. 2016 . Retrieved 15 September 2016 .
  6. Jump up^ “Great cocky count update” . Northern Agricultural Catchments Council. 2016 . Retrieved 15 September 2016 .
  7. Jump up^ “Perth’s urban sprawl driving out Carnaby’s black cockatoos” . Perthnow . News Corporation . October 30, 2015 . Retrieved 15 September 2016 .
  8. Jump up^ “Cocky count: how Perth’s ‘green’ growth plan could wipe out WA’s best-loved bird” . Edith Cowan University . 6 April 2016 . Retrieved 15 September 2016 .

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