Hong Kong’s critically endangered alien cockatoo population

During my PhD with Dingle Lab at HKU, I spent four years researching the city’s introduced, ~150 strong Yellow-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea) population, including roost counts, nest monitoring, recording vocalisations, camera trapping, habitat transects, diet analysis and observing interactions with other species. We also conducted bi-weekly surveys of the bird market in order to quantify local trade in this species.

Nest-site competition between introduced/native birds in Singapore

During 2018 and 2019 breeding seasons myself and two research assistants recorded aggressive interactions between bird species (both exotic and native) around cavities in large trees around Singapore. The small, densely populated city has an abundance of birdlife – including hornbills1, introduced cockatoos, kingfishers, dollarbirds, woodpeckers, parakeets… to name but a few of the cavity-nesters that use these hollows for breeding.

Photo: Evan Landy (Research Assistant)

Understanding Hong Kongers’ opinion of urban wildlife

Over 120 people living in cockatoo-inhabited areas of Hong Kong have completed an online survey with both multiple-choice and open-ended questions about their experience with the cockatoos, attitude towards them, and opinions on government policy for these birds. The survey is still ongoing, and the results provide interesting insight into how even densely populated urban areas can provide habitat for both humans and wildlife.

My (very shaky) video of a male Oriental Pied Hornbill bringing fruits to its mate and chick inside a nest less than 2m from the ground in a popular urban park!