Palm Cockatoo drumming courtship

Palm Cockatoo drumming on a hollow log to attract a mate

Endangered Palm Cockatoos in Queensland's far north filmed drumming with nuts and stick in an effort to attract a mate.

Professor Rob Heinsohn said while songbirds and whales can belt out a musical tune, few species recognise a beat. But the shy and elusive palm cockatoo, iconic to Cape York Peninsula in far North Queensland, plays the drums and crafts the sticks.

Each of 18 male palm cockatoos, known for their shyness and elusiveness, was shown to have its own style or drumming signature.
— Professor Heinsohn.

The research is part of a broader study of the palm cockatoo’s conservation needs on Cape York Peninsula where they suffer low breeding success and loss of habitat due to mining activity.

The palm cockatoo drumming is part of the species courtship ritual that involves a lot of calls and movements to attract a mate.