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A tool for the age estimation of black cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus spp.)

Le Souëf, A., Warren, K.ORCID: 0000-0002-9328-2013, Holyoake, C. and Vitali, S. (2013) A tool for the age estimation of black cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus spp.). In: Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo 2013 Symposium, 19 February, Kensington, Western Australia.


This poster presents the findings of a study (Le Souëf et al, in press) aimed to create an aging tool for black cockatoos using pentosidine analysis. Prior to this study it was not possible to estimate the age of black cockatoos past juvenile stages, however, recently age estimation of several avian species has been achieved using pentosidine measurement. Pentosidine, an advanced glycation end-product (AGE), accumulates in the skin of birds over time and can be used as a biomarker of aging (Iqbal et al. 1999).

Skin samples were collected from 51 black cockatoos of known age from the genus Calyptorhynchus and analysed for pentosidine concentration using high performance liquid chromatography. The plot of Ps against age was found to have a curvilinear relationship with a significant statistical association (R2 = 0.86).

This study offers the most accurate (within approximately two years (Fallon 2009)) model of age prediction in these birds past juvenile stages. This age tool will be used in ongoing demographic research in the Black Cockatoo Health and Ecology project at Murdoch University. The method will enable the estimation of age of black cockatoos entering rehabilitation programs, providing valuable data on the life histories of injured and debilitated wild birds. It is also being used to study the age demographics of wild populations, including cockatoos that were killed during a heat event in Hopetoun and Munglinup in 2010, providing further insight into the current status of these endangered birds.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
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