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 Philippine Cockatoo

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Age : 54
Registration date : 2007-07-26

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PostSubject: Philippine Cockatoo   Philippine Cockatoo Icon_minitimeSun Aug 05, 2007 2:59 pm


The Philippines is home to some of the world's most
exotic birds. Over the years, some 577 species of birds have wandered
around the Philippine archipelago. It is believed that 185 of these
species can be found only in the Philippines. Sadly, these species are
among the most endangered in the world because of deforestation and
human threat. The Bird Life International has listed 116 resident species
in the Philippines as "threatened" or "near-threatened".

One of these endangered species is the exotic Kalangay or the Philippine
cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia), a species belonging to Psittacidae
or the family of parrots. Cockatoos are treetop, hole-nesting birds
which have a massive scimitar-like beak for cracking nuts, digging up
roots, or prying grubs from wood. They have a long life span, some living
more than 50 years.

Kalangay, also known as the red-vented cockatoo, is a common cage bird
capable of mimicking human voice. It has a predominantly white plumage,
which produces a distinct contrast against the color of the forest making
them easy to locate in the dense foliage. Endemic only to the Philippines,
it is the only species in the country that represents the cockatoo group.

An ordinary kalangay measures 33 centimeters in length and weighs 0.29
kilogram. Its unique feature is its conspicuous red under-tail coverts.
It feeds on the seeds and fruits of wild trees or, in cultivated areas,
on rice or corn. Kalangay wanders in small flocks outside of the breeding
season, and visits forest edges and nearby plantations for food. The
female kalangay normally lays two eggs, which hatch after about 24 days.
Emergent trees 30-40 m tall are usually used as nesting sites, and coconut
plantations on offshore islands as roosting sites.

The past decades saw the population of kalangays decline by as much
as 90 percent. It is one of the three most traded wildlife species together
with the talking mynah and blue naped parrot, all of which are found
only in Palawan. Many hobbyists and collectors keep a kalangay at home
because of its ability to mimic sounds as well as its easy adaptability
to the presence of humans.

A great number of kalangays were flying in flocks across the Visayas
and Mindanao islands 50 years ago. But because of the rapid deterioration
of the forests where it lives and the threat posed by hunters and poachers
of wild animals, the population of kalangays has diminished to only
between 1,000 and 4,000 individuals. This population is now restricted
to Palawan, particularly in St. Paul's Subterranean River National Park,
Pandanan Island and El Nido Marine Reserve.

Unregulated collection and illegal trade of these prized species remain
unchecked. A piece of kalangay is reportedly worth as much as $500 at
the Cartimar bird market in Manila. Efforts are being made to save its
remaining population in the forests of Palawan, which, sad to say, are
also under threat. Kalangay or the Philippine cockatoo is a national
treasure because it is found only in the Philippines.
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