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Blue-eyed Cockatoo Cacatua ophthalmica
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species is listed as Vulnerable because remote-sensing techniques indicate that the lowland forest on which this species depends for nesting is being cleared at such a rate that the population is likely to be undergoing a rapid decline.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

50cm. White cockatoo, bases of head feathers undersurfaces of wing and tail suffused with yellow. Yellow crest feathers only visible easily when crest is erect. Grey-black bill and feet and diagnostic sky-blue wattled skin around the eyes (much darker than on other similar cockatoos).

Distribution and population
Cacatua ophthalmica is endemic to New Britain, Papua New Guinea, where it is widespread in suitable habitat. It is usually encountered in pairs, but birds may congregate in flocks of up to 40 individuals. Although the species may still appear to be relatively numerous, it is long-lived and declines in reproductive output due to deforestation may be masked.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number at least 10,000 mature individuals, roughly equivalent to 15,000 individuals in total.

Trend justification

Buchanan et al. (2008) calculated the rate of forest loss within the species's range on New Britain as 35% over three generations.

It inhabits tropical lowland rainforest up to an altitude of 1000 m. Although it occurs in disturbed forest including degraded forest and gardens, it presumably relies on intact forest with large trees for nesting (Dutson 2011).

Rapid conversion of lowland forest to oil plantations over the last thirty years is likely to have caused a significant loss of breeding habitat. Although it is rare in the international trade, even limited trapping would be a cause for concern.

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES II. Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor populations and breeding success in logged and unlogged forest throughout its range. Ensure the protection of a number of large areas of lowland forest on New Britain as part of a protected area network for the island. Monitor trends in the national and international trade of this species. Conduct awareness campaigns to discourage trapping of the species. Discourage the logging of trees with holes or other suitable nesting cavities.

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Buchanan, G.M., Butchart, S.H.M., Dutson, G., Pilgrim, J.D., Steininger, M.K., Bishop, K.D. and Mayaux, P. 2008. Using remote sensing to inform conservation status assessment: estimates of recent deforestation rates on New Britain and the impacts on endem

Dutson, G. 2011. Birds of Melanesia: Bismarcks, Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Christopher Helm, London.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Derhé, M., Ekstrom, J., Mahood, S.

Beehler, B., Bishop, K., Dutson, G., Wilkinson, R.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Cacatua ophthalmica. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Blue-eyed cockatoo (Cacatua ophthalmica) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Cacatuidae (Cockatoos)
Species name author Sclater, 1864
Population size 10000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 19,700 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species