Kangaroo Island is sometimes called Australia’s Galapagos. It was separated from Australia by the same climatic event which separated Ireland from Britain and Britain from mainland Europe; the end of the last Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago. It’s developed its own unique ecology, with different species and subspecies. It’s become a safe haven for many species which are endangered or become extinct on the mainland of Australia.
One of the unique subspecies is the Glossy Black Cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus lathami halmaturinus. I didn’t see one on my trip to Kangaroo Island. In 1995 there were only 158 birds left. Until last week there were 360 birds, despite an intensive decades-long conservation effort. Since the current bushfires destroyed a significant proportion of the island, there have been fears that all might have perished. A small flock of them has been sighted, so there is some small hope, but their food and their nesting sites are likely destroyed.
The birds I saw on my visit were both common species: the Greater Crested Tern and the Silver Gull. Here are Crested Terns, Thalasseus bergii, on the beach on Kangaroo Island:
The juveniles have wonderful uneven camouflage.
They are expert fliers:
Amongst them are Silver Gulls, Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae. It was May when I visited and this pair were involved in a fascinating display:
They are common, yet wonderful.
These birds have a choice of where to live, Glossy Black Cockatoos don’t.
Please donate if you can to Nature Foundation SA, a South Australian conservation and wildlife charity, to save the remaining Glossy Black Cockatoos: