EFA: Etsy For Animals Etsy For Animals: ANIMAL MUNDI: The Loudest Bird in the World by TheFrogBag


Etsy for Animals (EFA) aka Artists Helping Animals,

is a team of independent artists, craftspeople,

vintage sellers and craft suppliers on Etsy.com

who are dedicated to providing charitable relief to animals

by donating a portion of the profits from their shops

to an animal charity of their choosing,

and/or to EFA's featured Charity of the Month.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

ANIMAL MUNDI: The Loudest Bird in the World by TheFrogBag


The Loudest Bird in the World
logo designed by Eva of CocoNme

Ask most people to picture a cockatoo and they think of a noisy white bird with a bunch of mobile yellow head feathers. That’s because the sulphur-crested cockatoo is so common in the pet trade and on television that it tends to eclipse all of the others. But the cockatoo family is much bigger than that, with 21 separate species ranging across Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, and the Soloman Islands. At first glance they aren’t colored as fantastically as other types of parrots, but look closer and you’ll find some very odd birds. The biggest of these, not to mention the loudest, is the excitable palm cockatoo (Probosciger atterimus). 


These birds look slightly otherworldly, what with their black plumage dusted in powder, their huge beaks that can’t quite close, and their large crests that fall and rise according to mood. Speaking of mood, they wear theirs in large, naked patches of skin stretching between their eyes and beaks. This expanse can move between red, beige, pink, and even yellow depending on the bird’s stress level and health.


Like all parrots, these cockatoos are loud. They usually move singly or in pairs but will sometimes join large flocks. Even in a group they need their voice to travel though.  And it does, especially when they employ a disyllabic whistling “contact call” or a sharp, screeching “sentinel call” to warn others about the presence of a predator. Not content to just use their voices, they also stomp on branches and even “drum” by employing thick pieces of wood to repeatedly hit tree limbs, sometimes up to 200 times in a row. After hearing one of these performances it’s not hard to see why experts suggest that, even though these birds are available in the pet trade, they are usually better suited to life in the wild. 




A lot of this noise and showmanship is used in the pursuit of finding a suitable mate and defending a territory. Where they set up housekeeping is important since they put a lot into raising their young. Aterrimus lay only a single egg no more often than once a year. After the chick hatches it will have the longest nest-bound period of any parrot, up to 110 days. And after fledging they are unable to fly for another six weeks, a period during which their parents must keep a very watchful eye on them. Even after they become independent they are far from ready to start families of their own. In fact, sexual maturity isn’t reached until almost 8 years of age.


This long childhood doesn’t seem like such an investment when gauged against the birds’ lifespan though. Wild palm cockatoos may live up to 60 years in the wild, and it is not uncommon for cockatoos in captivity to reach 100.

So the next time you see a cockatoo, give her some credit. She may have seen more of the world than you have, and she may be very far from home. And if you pass her by without acknowledging her, she will be sure to remind you with a heart-stopping screech of epic proportions. 

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