Forest Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo Description

Calyptorhynchus banksii naso

Red Tailed Black Cockatoo in Kenwick

Description

Large and noisy Forest Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos (C. b. naso) are among the most spectacular Australian birds. However, in the tall jarrah and karri forests they usually stay high up in the canopy, where they feast on marri and other eucalypt seeds. They extract the nutritious seeds of marri by tearing open the base of the fruits. They also form smaller groups than in other areas, usually pairs or small family parties.

Description: These birds have a prominent crest above their strong grey bills. Male cockatoos are uniformly black, with a brilliant crimson band on the tail feathers. The females are brownish-black, with yellow speckles and light yellow to orange tail bands. Adults birds are between 50 and 61 centimetres long.

Status and Distribution: Vulnerable. The Forest Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo is only found in the South West of Western Australia. More recently, this sub species of black cockatoo can be found in Perth suburbs feeding on Cape Lilac fruits. This is due to the deforestation happening in the south west. Due to the growing number of those black cockatoos in the city, they are prone to be attacked by ravens, who are very territorial. Vehicles strikes are also a considerable threat to the species. Being heavy birds, they need time to take off. Moreover, their nests are sometimes robbed by illegal wildlife trafficking. Illegal shooting also threatened this species. The total population is now estimated at 10,000 to 12,000.

Preferred Habitat: They require nesting hollows with an entrance at least 180 mm wide In the karri forests, these can be 30 metres from the ground. Artificial nesting hollows have been successful and continue to yield positive results for the species in search of a nesting hollow. However, more need to be put up.

Life History: Forest Red-Tailed black cockatoo lay one, sometimes two eggs, in a nesting hollow lined with wood dust and chips, usually high above the ground. They enter the hollow tail first like the Carnaby’s. Regardless of the number of eggs, only one young is reared. The male feeds his partner while she sits on the eggs and broods the nestlings. In the south-west, these birds lay their eggs between March and April and from July to October. Recent research by the Western Australian Museum indicates that the Forest Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo only breeds every two to three years. This is probably due to the fact that juveniles Forest Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo remain dependant on their parents for up to two to three years.

Call: The call is a hash “kree”.

Their Noongar name, Kaarak, means “black feathers” and was the inspiration for the name of the site of the Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre (Kaarakin).

Red Tailed Black Cockatoo at Kaarakin

How you can help:

  • Spread the word
  • Report injured birds to Kaarakin (08 9390 2288)
  • Report illegal shooting to DBCA (1800 449 453)
  • Plant local species
  • Build nesting boxes¬†or articifial nesting hollows

Learn more about Black Cockatoos on this page.