Healesville Sanctuary

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

This large and noisy cockatoo is one of the highlights of a visit to Healesville Sanctuary.

Red-tailed Black Cockatoos are classed as ‘least concern’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (on the IUCN ‘red list’). The population is believed to be more than 1,000,000 birds. Two subspecies, the Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo and the South-eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, are less widespread and are considered to be under threat. Threats to the species include illegal smuggling of birds out of the country.

Encountering these cockatoos at Healesville Sanctuary is an important way to connect with the wild birds of Australia, and to learn about the Sanctuary’s conservation programs, especially those aimed at conserving threatened native species. The money you spend helps to support the Sanctuary’s conservation programs and its care of native wildlife as well as fight species extinction. 

The Red-tailed Black Cockatoo is native to Australia. 

Male Red-tailed Black Cockatoos are black with red tail bands, while the females are a little smaller and have some yellow patches on their chest, crest, cheeks, wings and tails.

These are large cockatoos, about 60cm in length when adult. They weigh upwards of 600g; some of the males may weigh as much as 900g.

Red-tailed Black Cockatoos eat seeds, mainly Eucalyptus seeds, but also nuts, berries, fruits and some insects.

They are found around most of Australia but more typically in the drier areas of the continent. They prefer Eucalyptus woodlands near water but may also be found in thick eucalyptus forest, rainforest and other areas. They may be seen in large flocks, especially in the north of the country.

Red-tailed Black Cockatoos build nests in hollows in trees, usually Eucalyptus and make a nest of woodchips at the base of the hollow. A female will lay one egg and the mother takes responsibility for incubating the egg while her mate provides food for her. The incubation period is about 30 days. 

The Red-tailed Black Cockatoo is protected under the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Wildlife Protection) Act 2001.

News
One for the birds

One for the birds

Zoo Keeper Claire Gilder knows a thing or two about birds, and has something to chirp about, landing a job at Healesville Sanctuary looking after some of Australia’s rarest and quirkiest feathered friends.

19 February 2013
Did you know?
  • The south-Eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (a subspecies) is listed as endangered under the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. There may be as few as 1000 remaining in the wild
  • A South-eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo was the official mascot of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games