Herbert the adorable hand-reared Palm Cockatoo
An adorable Palm Cockatoo chick called Herbert is being hand-reared at Paradise Park in Hayle, and charming the Keepers who are caring for him.
Leanne Gilbert and Sarah-Jayne Cooke took on the responsibility of raising the chick. Leanne explains “Herbert’s parents have produced an egg several times in the past two years but always broken them before they got a chance to hatch. This time we saw that the pair were having some squabbles and likely to crush the shell so we stepped in and took the egg to an incubator.”
This tiny but demanding chick hatched successfully! These cockatoos take a long time to raise and the Keepers have been hand-rearing Herbert for nearly three months now.
In the photo with Keeper Leanne Gilbert Herbert was 58 days old.
Leanne continues, “Soon Herbert will move over to solid food but at present, he is fed what is called ‘Witches Brew’. A blended mix of carrot, apple, broccoli, macadamia nuts, smooth peanut butter and macaw formula. Palm Cockatoos are the largest member of the cockatoo family so Herbert still has quite a bit of growing to do. He is already showing interest in chewing carrot sticks.”
It is over 20 years since a Palm Cockatoo was bred at Paradise Park. This pair (Herberts parents) have been together since 2015. Tess (left) is 14 years old and her mate Ziggy is 4.
Herbert as a young chick in the first couple of weeks.
The photos below are from Keeper Leanne Gilbert while she was hand-rearing Herbert – thanks Leanne
See a video clip of Herbert having lunch here
This video was taken on the 2nd November 2017.
This species of cockatoo is slow to reproduce as just one egg is laid at a time and the chick is in the nest for at least 80 days and then stays with its parents for about a year. Although rarely seen in aviaries, in the wild they have a large range and are thought to be quite common in remote areas of New Guinea, although rare around settlements. The unusual patch of bare skin on their cheeks blushes bright red when they call to a mate or defend their territory which makes them very expressive.
The World Parrot Trust charity based at Paradise Park, chose the Palm Cockatoo as its emblem when it was established in 1989. The Trust supported research by Steve Murphy to learn in detail about feeding and breeding habits of wild birds, with the aim of better management for their native habitat.
For more information on Palm Cockatoos (Probosciger aterrimus) please click here https://www.parrots.org/encyclopedia/palm-cockatoo/