#Creature Feature – Calyptorhynchus banksii (Red-tailed Black Cockatoo)

The Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, also known as Banks’ Black Cockatoo, is found in all states of mainland Australia, with five distinct subspecies occurring in eight discrete populations.  

Two of the five subspecies are considered to be threatened species. The South-eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, which was actually the official mascot of the 2006 Commonwealth Games, was listed as endangered in 2000. The Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo is found in the south west of WA and was listed as vulnerable in 2009.

Red-tailed Black Cockatoos are an active and noisy species often seen in large flocks. They reside in a range of habitats, preferring forests and woodlands predominately made up of Eucalypts or Casuarinas. Populations within the Northern Agricultural Region rely on the habitat of the critically endangered Eucalypt Woodlands of the WA Wheatbelt. These birds are dispersive, and tend not to stay at their birth site. They move around to find new breeding sites or as a response to the availability of seasonal food sources.

Seeds extracted from the pods of Eucalypts, Casuarinas, and Banksias make up a large portion of their preferred diet. In some areas, Red-tailed Black Cockatoos will forage in tree branches for insect larvae, or on the ground for seeds and weeds. These cockatoos have also been found to feed on fruit, berries, nectar, flowers, and even double gees!

Reflected in the name, Red-tailed Black Cockatoos are largely black in colour, with red tails. A female can be identified by the yellow spots on its head, neck, and wings, an off-white beak, and orange-yellow panels on the underneath of its tail feathers. A male, however, has a dark grey bill and bright red panels in its tail feathers.

This project is jointly funded by the Australian Government Natural Heritage Trust and NACC NRM, a member of the Commonwealth Regional Delivery Partners panel. 

References: Birdlife Australia | Australian Museum | eBird

Related Posts

Leave a reply