General Description

A large, noisy bird with a distinctive call ("karak, karak") and a crest that can be brought above the head and over the beak. The males are glossy black with striking red tail panels and grey beaks. The females and juveniles are black-brown with yellow speckles on their head, neck and wings; orange-yellow barring on their undersides; and cream beaks. The males develop their adult-colouration at about 3 years. Adult males can reach 60 cm long and 900 g.


This is one of five subspecies of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos and was the mascot of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. In the breeding season (September to December), Red-tailed Blacks usually feed alone or in small family groups of 2-3 birds. In the non-breeding season, they feed in large groups. The species has a highly-specialised diet, feeding almost exclusively on the seeds of three tree species: Brown Stringybark, Desert Stringybark and, in summer and early autumn, Buloke. They nest in deep tree hollows in large, old (usually dead) eucalypts, laying a single egg each breeding season. The subspecies is highly threatened due to the destruction of its nesting and food trees; only a single population of about 1400 individuals remains.


South-western Victoria and south-eastern South Australia.


Stringybark and Buloke woodlands (at least 10 years post-fire and containing 100+ year old nesting trees).

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