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Tanimbar Corella and Yellow-crested Cockatoo

on 26th October 2006

If you are at Changi Village and hear loud screeching, look around you, especially at the many tall angsana (Pterocarpus indicus) trees along the road. These are the Tanimbar Corella (Cacatua goffini) (above), also known as Tanimbar Cockatoo. There are usually about five birds around these trees and they are hole nesters.

There are up to 20 such corellas in the Loyang/Changi area. They are also found elsewhere in Singapore, including about 40 on Sentosa.

The other parrot commonly using these trees are the Red-breasted Parakeet (Psittacula alexandri), also known as the Moustached Parakeet. There are also about three Yellow-crested Cockatoos (Cacatua sulphurea) (below) around Changi but they hardly visit the village.

All the above birds are not natives of Singapore. Tanimbar Corella is native to the Tanimbar Islands of Wallacea. The Red-breasted Parakeet has always been found in Java, Bali, India, Andaman Isle, China, Indochina, Myanmar, Thailand, Sumatra, Borneo and Java. Both were introduced to Singapore three to four decades ago through the bird trade. All have established themselves in Singapore and have feral (i.e. tame birds that returned to the wild) breeding populations.

In Singapore, the Tanimbar Corella feeds on the fruits of various wayside trees like Sea Almond (Terminalia catappa), pong pong (Cerbera odollam) and starfruit (Averrhoa carambola). They are wasteful eaters, pecking away a few morsels only.

One or two Sulphur-crested Cockatoos (Cacatua galerita), also escapees, have recently been seen in Sentosa.

PS: All three cockatoos are endangered. Yellow-crested and Tanimbar are listed in Appendix I of CITES while Sulphur-crested is in Appendix 2. This means that commercial trade in these birds is prohibited as of 14th June 2006.

Text by R. Subaraj, images by YC (top) and Meng and Melinda Chan (bottom).

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

7 Responses

  1. Hi, I would like to ask if you have done any study on crows? I understand that the male and female look exactly alike. Did sexual selection take place (Darwins theory). Why? Why not?
    Please enlighten. Thanks. I am contactable at [email protected]

  2. Occasionally, a whole flock of close to 10 yellow-crest cockatoos can be seen flying past National Junior College, Bukit Timah. Leaving a trail of “noise”.

  3. cacatua goffini is App 1 of CITES while C.galerita is App 2 of CITES.Cacatua sulphurea sulphurea and all subspecies are App 1 birds.commercial trade in them is prohibited.

  4. I was in Changi village from 10th to 16th November, 2019. The trees opposite Village Hotel Changi has roosts of Tanimbar Cockatoo and Red breasted Parakeets, the former being very few in numbers (about 3 or 4 ) and latter being in moderate flocks. The Red Breasted Parakeets and Javan Mynah also compete with Cockatoos for the hollow nests in tree trunkof Terminalia catappa. I have taken a few images of these birds on a warm sunny afternoon.

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