Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

Feeding Ecology of the Cockatiel, Nymphicus-Hollandicus, in a Grain-Growing Area

D Jones

Australian Wildlife Research 14(1) 105 - 115
Published: 1987


The feeding ecology of the cockatiel Nymphicus hollandicus was studied in a grain-growing district near Moree, in northern New South Wales, between August 1980 and June 1982, by direct observations and monthly collections of birds in feeding flocks. Cockatiels fed from the ground, on fallen seed or by felling stems, and, when feeding on sorghum and sunflowers, while perched on the seed heads. The mean size of a feeding flock was 27; large flocks of more than 100 birds were formed only during periods of limited food supply. Cockatiels showed a clear preference for sorghum over sunflowers, and when on cereals they appeared to prefer softer, younger seed to harder, mature seed. Overall they fed on 29 seed types, including four grain-crops, 17 grasses and eight non-grass ground plants. Sorghum was by far the most important food item, making up almost 60% of total crop contents; sunflower made up only 6% of crop contents, and grasses 19.3%; 90% of this last was contributed by Phalarisparadoxa and Setar~a sp. Some management implications, based on apparent food preferences, are discussed.


© CSIRO 1987

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