Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gang-gang Cockatoo hit by car.

Near Moss Vale the other day I saw a mid-sized grey lump beside the road. Naturally I stopped (you know me well enough, dear Reader).

Image alert:
If you are distressed by seeing images of dead birds (no matter how interesting I may find these images) please look no further. Kindly come back tomorrow
The good news is that I also have images of live Gang Gangs further down the page (and a link to the sweetest "lovey-dovey" image of a pair of Gang-gangs you could ever hope to see). You can skip right to the end, if you wish (check the link in the very last paragraph).
This road-killed bird is a female Gang-gang Cockatoo. (Callocephalon fimbriatum)
 Note the light-textured crest feathers.
Female Gang-gang Cockatoo (a road-killed bird)
 Viewed from beneath you can see 
the diagnostic coloured marks on the chest and abdomen.
"The adult female has a dark grey head and crest, 
with the feathers of the underparts edged pink and yellow."
Note also the light-textured crest feathers
Female Gang-gang Cockatoo (a road-killed bird)
One of the things which always fascinates me
is the different structures of birds' feet.
With a bird in the hand, even a dead one,
I like to study how the toes are structured.
Toes of a Gang-gang Cockatoo.
This image shows the two rear toes - (one on each side)
and the two front toes curled neatly between them.
This structure is known as "zygodactyly"
It is found in all Parrots and Cockatoos
and in other birds, including Cuckoos.

Here is a link to the very different foot structure of a Sacred Kingfisher
The King-parrot has the same structure as the Gang-gang, of course.
The Painted Button-quail has a totally different structure,

 I promised you photos of live Gang-gang Cockatoos.

Here is a female, chewing on Hawthorn Berries.
Note she is using the left foot to hold the food.
Female Gang-gang Cockatoo eating Hawthorn Berries

This male is also holding his food in the left foot
The tendency to use the left foot is noted
in the Birds in Backyards information on this species.
(See the box: "Did you know" below the map on that site)
Male Gang-gang Cockatoo also eating Hawthorn berries.
This image shows why Gang-gang Cockatoos 
are subject to road accidents
(Click to enlarge)
A flock of Gang-gangs in a Hawthorn tree
These birds, when they find a good food source, 
tend to sit there.
Often they feed low down.
But being relatively large birds, as they start to fly
they tend to drop down in order to gain speed, 
as they fly off (from their perch).
Being perched as low, as they are here, 
that means they tend to fly off at car height.
And now something to cheer you all up, here is a lovely image of a pair of Gang-gang Cockatoos grooming eachother. The image was taken by Julian Robinson and is on the Canberra Ornithologists Group photo gallery. With such loving attention between the male and the female, it is no wonder these birds are reputed to mate for life!


catmint said...

Dear Denis, such an interesting post, I learned so much, never realized birds had such different foot structures. I also adore the photo of the gang gangs grooming each other, looking so calm and loving and contented. cheers, cm

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Catmint.
I am always wary of posting about road kills, but one can observe things seldom accessible, otherwise.
I was lucky to grow up as the son of abird bander, so I saw all these details (as a kid). But few people know about these details.
That "lovey-dovey" image is just adorable, isn't it. So glad you followed the link to see it.
That is very satisfying for me (as a Blogger) to know people do bother to chase up the links.