Breeding biology of three large, sympatric rainforest parrots in New Guinea: Palm Cockatoo, Pesquet’s Parrot and Eclectus Parrot

Paul Igag, Andrew L. Mack, Sarah Legge, Robert Heinsohn

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    In New Guinea Palm Cockatoos, Pesquet’s Parrots and Eclectus Parrots are potentially threatened by deforestation and hunting. In a 28-month study, we found 51 Palm Cockatoo, 34 Pesquet’s Parrot and 71 Eclectus Parrot nests. Eclectus Parrots used taller, larger, live trees. Palm Cockatoos preferred hollows in broken trunks having deeper hollows with larger entrances. Pesquet’s Parrots excavated their nest hollows in dead trees. Palm Cockatoos nested at lower density (0.008 nests/ha) than Pesquet’s (0.022 nests/ha) and Eclectus Parrots (0.069 nests/ha). Palm Cockatoos and Pesquet’s Parrots appeared to breed seasonally; Eclectus Parrots bred at higher frequency year-round. Palm Cockatoo clutch size was one; Pesquet’s and Eclectus Parrots clutches had one to two eggs. Eclectus Parrots had higher fledging success: 54%, compared with 40% of Palm Cockatoo and 17% of Pesquet’s Parrot eggs. Predation caused most nest failures for Palm Cockatoos and Eclectus Parrots; starvation caused most loss in Pesquet’s Parrots. Humans hunted Palm Cockatoos and Pesquet’s Parrots, not Eclectus Parrots. Higher nest tree density, breeding success, and more generalised feeding habits may make Eclectus Parrots the least vulnerable of the three species. Low population density and breeding frequency of Palm Cockatoos and Pesquet’s Parrots may make them more vulnerable.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)196-204
    Number of pages9
    JournalEmu
    Volume119
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019

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