Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wildlife on Wednesday ... Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo.

Following on from last week's WW post about a really noisy winged visitor ... this week I'd like to introduce another loud and raucous visitor to our garden.  We see them quite regularly throughout the year ... well, we generally hear their harsh grating shrieks first!!

They're mainly arboreal and love foraging in the canopies of the Eucalyptus and Acacia trees.

This is the magnificent Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo.  There are four sub-species of this bird, but it is Calyptorhynchus banksi macrorhynchus that is quite a common sight across western, northern and eastern Australia.  While both the male and the female have a short crest, a stubby beak and a long tail ... there are some differences.  

The male is jet black, with a broad band of bright red in his tail and a dark grey beak.

The female is duller black, with yellow speckles on the head and breast, and yellow patches in her tail. Her beak is whitish in colour.

A female will lay two eggs but only one young ever grows up to leave the hollow in a tree in which the eggs are laid.

Around here, we usually only see these birds in small groups of males and females.  Further out west, they can be spotted in flocks of over 1000 birds.   There is a common 'bush myth' here in Oz ... no, nothing to do with the ex-President of the US ... it's all about these beautiful black birds.  Apparently if you see three of the these cockatoos together ... that means rain is three days away.  If you're travelling in the outback and you see two thousand ... yes ... that's how many day until the next rain!  I'm not sure where these massive flocks of cockatoos are finding food out there, when there's supposed to be drought for months on end!

Another interesting fact about these beauties ... some of these birds have been known to live for 100 years in captivity.  In the wild, they can live to around 20 years.

There are a couple of other bloggers who have also posted interesting posts that fit in with the Wildlife on Wednesday theme ... so please check them out!
Rosie at Leaves n Bloom
Lotusleaf at Gardentropics

or  is lighter-coloured than the males'.


  1. What a lovely bird. It must really be lovely to see it in flight! Wishing you a grand day! Cathy

  2. Beautiful birds. I have a goffin cockatoo, and he is a hoot. I can't imagine a whole flock!
    Thanks for the pics and info.

  3. How to cool to live in a place where the wild birds are cockatoos! Enjoyed these photos and the information.

  4. Beautiful!You have captured the birds perfectly. I enjoyed reading about them and the story connected to them. I have only seen these cockatoos in Mysore Zoo. Thanks for mentioning my post.

  5. I came here via Rosie at Leaves'n'Bloom. WONDERFUL post and photography. Greetings from Wales, UK.

  6. That is amazing....I love your pics!

  7. I like the colours of the plumage in that bird - the black is very striking. Bernie as to the info about the eggs and only one ever leaving the nest does that mean that 2 hatch and the stronger eats the weaker one or does only 1 egg ever hatch?

    Thankyou so much for the mention of my blog here too.......... as as to continue our twitter conversation this morning we'll have had nearly 4 inches of rain today. :) Rosie

  8. Bernie,
    We dont get them here, I think they must like the drier area, maybe because there is seldom one day here before rain! Loved your post

  9. Such a beautiful bird! I love Australian wildlife...

  10. I always feel like I have been to a science class when I visit your blog, such interesting animals and factual information.

    I had a very good friend and coworker who used to live in Austrailia but she never talked about all of the interesting wildlife and plants.


  11. Fascinating... I can't imagine flocks of thousands of these birds. You're doing a great job educating me that tropical birds don't just live in cages!

  12. These birds are really beautiful!

  13. Oh my gosh, what wonderful photos. I have never seen a Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo before. They're gorgeous. You won't find any bird like that here in Michigan. I love your blog. Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into it. It's a joy.


  14. Cool looking bird and wonderful photos!

  15. Gorgeous photos of red-tailed blacks!
    Thank you!
    I haven't seen any of these guys for so many years.
    I see yellow tails down this way from time to time, I've never managed decent photos though.

  16. we had 17 yellow tail cockatoo`s in our yard in carrum downs yesterday .it was awesome but sad too as there is a new freeway being put in just down the road.

  17. Hello fellow cockatoo friends, I live in the southwest of Western Australia, when out 4WDing in the pine forest around Kirup I drove toward a flock of 500 or more red tailed & yellow tailed cockatoos. Overwhelmed with joy I stopped beneath them and marveled at there beauty, listening to them swark the secrets of freedom, for those amazing moments I felt the essence of the Black cockatoo. These are the gifts of life forever cherished within. Love to you all, red head calling cockatoos Kate.

  18. Thanks for the information. We live in the southwet of WA and 3 of these just showed up out the back in the trees. They are a bit smaller than the usual black ones we get here and the squawks are certainly different. Cheers, Darralyn

  19. How wonderful and blessed to enjoy nature and wildlife, Bernie! Thanks for sharing your well-captured photos of the beautiful cockatoos and info. Birds that sometimes visit our small 'concrete jungle' are so ordinary looking, unlike the colourful ones of yours. Nonetheless, we're happy to be visited by them, especially the black and white magpie... love their melodious singing.


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