The Species Of The Palm Cockatoo

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Probosciger aterrimus, better known as the “palm cockatoo”, is the largest bird species of the parakeet (Psittaciformes) family (Taylor 2000). This highly threatened cockatoo species can be found dwelling in many tropical and woodland regions, including those of lowland New Guinea and the savanna habitat of Cape York Peninsula, Australia (Murphy et al. 2003), and can be identified by its long, plumaged body, curled erectile crest, and naked cheek patches. Of particular interest, and perhaps the most distinctive of this cockatoo’s traits, is the long, strong hooked beak. As with many bird species, the palm cockatoo’s bill has adapted to its specific dietary preferences and feeding strategies; in particular, the shock absorbing ability of the large, powerful bill allows the granivore-frugivore (grain or seed-eating – fruit-eating, respectively) (Koutsos et al. 2001) parakeet to scavenge for hard nuts that are otherwise inaccessible to other parakeet species. Further supporting the granivorous diet-accommodating beak morphology of the palm cockatoo is a study conducted by Munshi-South and Wilkinson (2006) that conclusively correlated the evolution of longer lifespans in parrots with the adoption of seed-based diets. If parrot species do in fact achieve longer lifespans by adopting granivorous diets, natural selection’s favoring of traits maximizing the adoption of a granivorous diet in the palm cockatoo should be relatively equally distributed amongst all members of the

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