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Dear Parrots magazine,

The Moluccan’s habitat

Thank you for the quick response to my letter, and thank you for Rosemary Low’s response. I am left with some questions.

In the book, Cockatoos in Aviculture by Rosemary Low, she writes a further bleak assessment about the Moluccan Cockatoo in the wild besides those views of Roland Wirth. She writes “The Moluccan Cockatoo must now be considered critically endangered, perhaps the most endangered of all Cockatoos.” What changes have been made to Moluccan Cockatoos’ habitat to modify this ominous view of Moluccan’s future, in the wild?

Dr Allen M Dresher, USA

Rosemary Low has kindly answered this follow-up question:

‘Cockatoos in Aviculture’ was published in 1993, when little was known about the status of this Cockatoo and the forecast from the field was very pessimistic.

The only change to the habitat, as everywhere in Indonesia, is continuing deforestation. However, the IUCN status has been maintained at Vulnerable. It certainly is not Critically Endangered.

BirdLife International's data sheet for this Cockatoo states that it suffered declines, including an estimated 20-40 per cent in one region during the 1990s. However, it remains locally common in Manusela National Park, Seram.

The data sheet states: "There has been little research on the population size of the species, and the studies that are available report very different population densities. A study in 1998 reported a population density of 7.87 (±1.98) birds/km2 (Kinnaird et al. 2003), extrapolating to 110,385 birds (95 per cent CI=62,416–195,242) in 1998, based on 14,026 km2 of suitable habitat available on Seram), whereas a survey in 2006-2007 reported a density of 0.83 birds/km2 (Y. E. Persulessy in litt. 2007), extrapolating to 9,640 birds in 2007 (based on 11,598 km² of suitable habitat available on Seram)."

Rosemary Low




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