Cacatua alba

Written by on April 13, 2012 in Indonesia Bird with 0 Comments

Cacatua alba, White Cockatoo, Kakatua Putih

The White CockCacatua-alba-01-400atoo, Cacatua alba (also known as the Umbrella Cockatoo) is a medium-sized, up to 46 cm long cockatoo endemic to the islands of Halmahera, Bacan, Ternate, Tidore, Kasiruta and Mandiole in North Maluku, Indonesia. It is a white parrot with brown or black eyes and a dark grey beak. If it is surprised, it extends a large and striking crest, which has a semicircular shape (similar to an umbrella, hence the alternative name). The crest is normally recumbent. The underside of the wings and tail have pale yellow or lemon colour, which flash when they fly.

The White Cockatoo can live up to, and perhaps beyond, 80 years in age.

The White Cockatoo is 48 cm (19 in) long, and weight are about 400 grams for small females and up to 800 grams for big males. The male White Cockatoo usually has a broader head and a bigger beak than the female. During their puberty the female White Ccockatoo can begin to develop a more reddish iris than the male.

The feathers of the White Cockatoo are mostly white. However, both upper and lower surfaces of the inner half of the trailing edge of the large wing feathers are a yellow colour. The yellow colour is most notable on the underside of the wings because the yellow portion of the upper surface of the feather is covered by the white of the feather immediately medial (nearer to the body) and above. Similarly, areas of larger tail feathers that are covered by other tail feathers, and the innermost covered areas of the larger crest feathers, are yellow. Short white feathers grow from and closely cover the upper legs.
Breeding

The White Cockatoo nests in tree cavities. The eggs are white and there are usually two in a clutch. The incubation period is about 28 days and both the female and male incubate the eggs. The larger chick becomes dominant over the smaller chick and takes more of the food. The chicks leave the nest about 84 days after hatching.
Conservation status

The White Cockatoo is considered vulnerable by the IUCN. Its number in the wild have declined owing to habitat loss and illegal trapping for the cage-bird trade. It is listed in appendix II of the CITES list of protected species which gives it protection by making the export, import and trade of wild-caught birds illegal.

The high market value of these birds has led to unsustainable levels of harvest for the pet trade. In 1994 the White Cockatoo was listed as a CITES I endangered species. This species has since been taken off the endangered species list, but is still listed as Vulnerable. Principal threats to this species are the pet trade and loss and degradation of their forest habitat.

In addition to the necessity of law enforcement to stop the illegal parrot trade, ProFauna urges the Indonesian government to raise the status of white Cockatoo (Cacatua alba), endemic species of Northern Maluku as Indonesian protected species.

The parrot smuggling to the Philippines breaks the CITES (Convention of International on Trade in Endangered Species) agreements, ratified by Indonesia in 1978. Most parrots are listed in Appendix II. Parrots in CITES Appendix II are prohibited from international commercial trade unless they are captive bred or permitted by the exporting country. In Indonesia the bird trade is controlled by the catch quota. Parrots in the trade are not captive bred. From the interviews with some animal traders in Cartimar market in Manila, the Philippines, ProFauna uncovered that some of the birds smuggled from Indonesia were intended for export to other countries and to be labelled as captive-bred. It is therefore necessary for the Philippines authority to control and check the parrot breeding centre and the source of parrots for export.

Cacatua-albaThe illegal trade of protected parrots violates the Indonesian legislation of the 1990 (a wildlife law concerning Natural Resources and the Ecosystems Conservations). Accordingly, the perpetrators are liable to a maximum five-year prison term and a maximum 100 million Rupiah fine. Unfortunately, the Indonesian governments has not enforced the law because many protected parrot are still being smuggled abroad and sold openly in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia.
Aviculture
White Cockatoos are kept as pets because they can be very affectionate, bond closely with people and are valued for their beauty. They can imitate basic human speech, but are not considered the most able speakers among parrots. They are often used in live animal acts in zoos and amusement parks, because they are naturally acrobatic and easily trained, because of their highly social nature, and high level of intelligence.

They were quite popular in China during the Tang Dynasty which in turn influenced the depictions of Guan Yin with a white parrot. The Fourth Crusade was also sealed between Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and the Sultan of Babylon in 1229 with a Whit Cockatoo

 

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