Tanimbar Cockatoo eating seeds of the drumstick

posted in: Feeding-plants, Parrots | 1

The drumstick (Moringa olifera) is a straggly, smallish tree that is grown for the fruits. These are 15-40 cm long pods, 3-angled and slightly swollen over the large seeds. The young fruits make an excellent curry dish cooked with dhal. The fibrous fruits are chewed for the seeds, the fibres spitted out. The young leaves and flowers are also eaten as vegetables.

My next door neighbour used to have a tree in his garden (below left) and I enjoyed photographing the birds that flock to the flowers, like the Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia) and the Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus) and various sunbirds. This was in 2008.

Imagine my surprise when I recently reviewed my collection of images related to the Tanimbar Cockatoo (Cacatua goffini), previously known as Tanimbar Corella, and rediscovered an image showing this cockatoo ripping an old pod from the tree to get at the seeds (above right). We have posts of this cockatoo eating fruits/seeds of various trees that no other birds would touch, like Sea Almond (Terminalia catappa), Leucaena (Leucaena leucocephalia), Golden Shower (Cassia fistula), Starfruit (Averrhoa carambola), African Tulip (Spathodea campanulata) and Pong Pong (Cerbera odollam). But we have no official record of it eating Drumstick seeds. Now we have.

This again shows the importance of photography in birdwatching. You get permanent records of your observations that can be reviewed years later to reveal new findings.

YC Wee
March 2012

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