Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo Ralph Green/Flickr

Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo

Did You Know?

The birds have good memories – some birds would turn up to locations of almond trees in metropolitan areas, almost to the day when the almonds were ripe.

Males feed the female at her nest during the incubation period and fly over 12 km to ensure she gets the food she needs during nesting. The birds display strong bonds with their partners throughout their adult life.

Peter Mawson, DEC principal zoologist, says the birds may be responding to climate change, with more birds using the jarrah forest and coastal plain (ABC, 2011).

Numbers have declined by more than 50 per cent in the last half century largely due to the extensive clearing of critical breeding habitat in the wheatbelt.

FactBox Image

Dull black cockatoo with pale feather margins; white patch on ear coverts and white panels in long tail, often exposed in flight. The male has a black bill, reddish eye-ring, dull white ear patch, and lesdistinct feather margins. The female has a whitish bill, grey eye-ring, clear-white ear patch, and broader pale margins to breast-feathers.

Nest

Decayed wood debris in large hollow in eucalypt, from near ground to over 20 m.

Behaviour

Call

Loud, high, querulous (of a whining manner), drawn out, wheezy ‘ai-whiieer-la’ or ‘wy-ieeer-la’; the emphasis on the extended middle wail.

Longer call than the Baudin’s Black-Cockatoo. With considerable experience, the calls can be helpful in separating the two WA white-tailed black-cockatoos.

Diet

Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos mostly forage in trees, especially proteaceous plants such as Banksias, Hakeas and Dryandras, as well as eucalypts, tearing off the seed pods from the tree, holding them with the foot and breaking them open to extract the seeds within. They sometimes also often forage in pine trees and orchards. Occasionally they forage on the ground, especially in areas with the agricultural weed Erodium.

Breeding

Breeds from July to November in monogamous pairs, and nests in hollows in old eucalypts at least 100 years old to have hollows large enough. Pairs return to the same nest site each year. They lay one or two white eggs, which are incubated by the female. Both parents feed the chicks, but only the female broods them.

Species: WhatToObserve Image

What to Observe

  • Presence

  • Courting/Mating

  • Calling

  • Feeding

  • Bird on chicks

  • Bird on eggs

  • Bird on nest/in hollow

  • Bird feeding young

Species: WhenAndWhere Image

When and Where

When To Look

Look year round for presence and July - November for breeding.

Where To Look

Confined to South West WA , mostly within the Wheatbelt region—in places that receive over 300 mm (12 in) of rainfall yearly. The limits of its range include Cape Arid to the east, Lake Cronin, Hatters Hill and Lake Moore inland, and Kalbarri to the north.

Carnaby's Black-cockatoo is found in Eucalyptus woodland, most commonly of wandoo (Eucalyptus wandoo) or salmon gum (E. salmonophloia). It is also found nearby pine plantations and sandplains or kwongan heath with abundant Hakea, Banksia, and Grevillea shrubs.

Species: WhatElse Image

Similar Species

In WA, the Baudin’s Black-Cockatoo is very similar, being distinguished at close range by the shape of the bill (the bill is shorter and broader on Carnaby’s, barely extending below the tip of the lower mandible) and the exposure of the bill (the feathers of the cheeks often cover the lower mandible, obscuring its profile); and its calls (the contact calls of the Carnaby’s are said to be more drawn-out); Carnaby’s are usually in woodlands, while Baudin’s are usually in heavily forested areas, but there is some overlap.

In WA, the Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo (C. banksii) can be distringuished by the red panels in its tail-feathers and the lack of a cream-coloured patch on ear-coverts.