Red-tailed black cockatoo
Calyptorhynchus banksii (formerly known as Calyptorhynchus magnificus)
The red-tailed black cockatoo can be found in flocks of over 1000.
Meaning of scientific name
Scientific name meaning - Calyptorhynchus banksii = Bank’s covered bill. Named in honour of the scientist Sir James Banks, who sailed on Cook’s voyage 1768-71.
Calyptorhynchus banksii naso; C. b. macrorhynchus; C. b. samueli; C. b. graptogyne; C. b. banksii.
They may live for over 100 years.
Body length: 55 to 63cm; Weight: 570 to 870g.
A large, black cockatoo with a deep red tail (in males) or a red-orange tail (in females). Males are sooty black, while females have glossier feathers with golden flecks. Females have smaller crests than males. Males have a dark grey bill, and the females' bill is lighter-coloured than the males'.
The north of Australia, far west of Australia, north-central New South Wales, and Tasmania.
Red-tailed black cockatoos live in open woodland, riparian woodland, savannah, mulga, mallee and rainforest. They prefer Eucalyptus woodland, but will occupy other types of forest, especially if there has been a recent fire in those areas.
They mainly eat seeds. They also consume nuts, fruits, flowers, bulbs and insects. They mostly forage in the canopy of trees such as eucalyptus and acacia.
A large gregarious cockatoo. They can be found in flocks of hundreds to thousands, or in small family groups. They are mostly arboreal but can be found feeding on the ground, particularly in agricultural land.
They are wary of people. If you stand still the birds might ignore you. Otherwise they will all simultaneously take flight, emitting nosy alarm calls.
The red-tailed black cockatoo breeds March to September in the north of Australia and July to October in the west. It nests in hollow trees and dead trees. The nesting chamber is usually more than 15 metres off the ground, so it requires tall trees. The nest is lined with chewed and decayed wood. One egg is laid, sometimes two. Only one chick is raised.
They are not listed by the IUCN.
They emit a harsh grating shriek or a loud mournful note.
A sketch of the red-tailed black cockatoo made in 1770 by Sydney Parkinson from Captain Cook’s Endeavour, is the earliest ever drawing of an eastern Australian land bird. The sketch now resides in the Natural History Museum, London.