Common name: Philippine cockatoo or Red-vented cockatoo
Scientific name:Cacatua haematuropygia
Local name: Katala, Kalangay, Abukay, Agay
Status: IUCN- Critically endangered. CITES- Appendix I.
Until ca. 1980 the Philippine Cockatoo was a common species found
throughout the Philippine Archipelago. Since then, 60-90% decline in
population has occurred as a result of destructive human activities.
Description: The endemic Philippine or Red-vented cockatoo
is a small psittacine with a helmet crest and red undertail coverts.
The white plumage is extremely conspicuous in flight and in the
foliage of the lowland dipterocarp and mangrove forest habitats. It
is 12.2 inches long and has an 8.6 inches wingspan. The Katala as it
is locally called is a social species which roosts, feeds, and flies
in noisy groups but during the
mating season, from March to July,
pairs live apart from the flock, often reusing the same nesting tree
year after year. It is a favorite caged-bird because of its ability
to mimic the human voice.
Distribution: In 1994, the estimated population is 1,000
to 4,000 individuals, 70-75% of which is believed to occur in Palawan.
Recent estimates by Widmann (2001) suggest 1000 individuals left in
the wild! Rasa probably holds the highest population density with
200 recorded individuals.
Feeding: The Philippine cockatoo feeds on seeds, and, to
an extent, on fruits, flowers, buds and nectar. The species is very
adaptable and even forages on crops, particularly rice in a
half-ripe stage and corn. Therefore the cockatoo was formerly
regarded as a pest.
Breeding: Pair bonds start to get closer in October. Birds
are traveling pair wise and grooming of partners can be observed
more frequently at the roosting site. Nest holes are selected
starting from end of December. Laying of eggs is recorded from the
second February decade to the first April decade, but usually
peaking between end of February and beginning of March. Full
clutches contain two or three eggs. On Rasa, fifty six nesting trees
have been reported comprising of five tree species.
Habitat: Lowland, riverine, and mangrove forests but may
be found in forest edge and open fields as well as high in the
mountains. Can be seen singly or in flocks of up to 30 or more.
Voice: Loud raucous calls are varied ranging from eeeek,
owwwwk, and rouuuk, and are almost deafening when several birds are
calling together, especially in flight.
Poaching, selling and buying of the Philippine cockatoo
known unprotected cockatoo nests are poached. Because of its
unique characteristics, the demand for the Philippine cockatoo
is high. Trade to meet the domestic demand is substantial and is
very likely enough to endanger the remnant cockatoo populations.
Habitat destruction – The cutting of mangroves and forest
trees result to the loss of habitats particularly nesting and
food-providing trees for the Philippine cockatoo. Lowland
forests are converted for agriculture, mining or settling.
Complete ecosystems, like freshwater swamp forests are on the
brink of extinction in the Philippines.
The Philippine cockatoo and other Philippine wildlife
are protected by the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act of
the Philippines or Republic Act 9147. Violations will lead to
severe penalties and several years of imprisonment!