Red Tailed Black Cockatoo

SPECIES: Calyptorhynchus banksii

Red-tailed Black Cockatoos are a large, glossy black-cockatoo, 55-60cm in size. There are 5 subspecies of Red-tailed Black-cockatoo: C.b.banksii, C.b.graptogyne, C.b.macrorhynchus, C.b.naso & C.b.samueli. These species differ in geographic location, body markings and bill size.

Adult males are sooty black with red panels in tail, the crest is round and helmet-like, and the bill is large, rounded and prominent. Adult females are duller, and spotted/ barred yellow, with a whitish bill and orange-yellow tail with black barring.


Red-tailed Black-cockatoos feed on the seeds of eucalypts, casuarinas and banksias, as well as fruit, nectar, flowers and insects and their larvae.

Social organisation and Reproduction

Red-tailed Black-cockatoos are usually found in pairs, small flocks or large, noisy flocks. During the breeding season, which varies according to geographic location, males will strut across perches with their tails fanned out and their crests up to attract females. Once a pair bond has formed and mated, the female will lay 1, rarely 2, white eggs in a nests made in a tree hole or hollow, usually high up. Females will incubate the egg and the male will bring her food. Both parents will feed the chicks, regurgitating partially digested seeds from their crops. Although chicks fledge the nest at 10-12 weeks old, they can remain with their parents for up to 4 years. Red-tail Black-cockatoos have a lifespan of roughly 20-50 years.

Did you know?

  • Derivation: Calyptos= hidden; rhynchos= beak; banksii= Sir Joseph Banks, naturalist.
  • Red-tailed Black-cockatoo subspecies b.banksii is listed as Critically Endangered, and subspecies C.b.samueli is listed as Vulnerable, in New South Wales.

Why are they endangered?

  • Habitat and food-source destruction through agricultural clearing, settlements and logging.
  • Loss of trees with hollows.
  • Extremely low numbers in certain states and subspecies.

Red Tailed Black Cockatoo


Native To




Red-tailed Black Cockatoos inhabit coastal forests, woodlands, inland open shrublands near water, heavily-timbered and open forests near water, and Banksia scrubs.

Did You Know?

To protect the nest from predators, males will return with food and sit on a nearby perch and call the female. She will drop out of the nest and fly to meet him, to keep the nest site hidden whilst feeding.



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