Friday, April 12, 2013

Combined botany and zoology picture

Sulfur-crested cockatoo enjoying the fruits of the season just across from our balcony. The tree it is sitting in, a Callitris, is called "native pine" but is not a Pinaceae but really a member of the Cupressaceae family of the conifers, together with the cypresses (as one might expect, given the family name), thujas, junipers and sequoias. I have seen Callitris forests during field work, and they are much poorer in biodiversity than Eucalyptus forests.

The cockatoo was pulling off Callitris cones with his claws then cracked them with its strong bill to eat the developing seeds inside. These birds are highly intelligent but they also share a less desirable feature with us humans: they are wasteful and needlessly destructive, often defoliating half a tree just for fun. In this case, they have a tendency to drop the cones when they are only half eaten.

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