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Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo

A Red-tailed Cockatoo feeding on some gum nuts

Male (from southern Western Australia)

A Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo looking back at the camera

Female (from Queensland)

Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo feather lying on ground, surrounded by dead leaves and gum nuts

Fallen tail feather (south-western Western Australia)

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Scientific Name: Calyptorhynchus banksii

Size: around 60 cm

What does it look and sound like?

This is a large, black cockatoo. The Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo male is easily identified by its dense crest of black feathers, almost entirely black plumage, and bright red undertail. The female is duller grey-brown, barred and spotted with yellow, and has a diagnostic white bill. The Glossy Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus lathami of south-east Australia and Kangaroo Island, SA, has a paler head and breast and is much smaller. The contact call of the Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo is a rolling metallic ‘kreee’ or ‘krurr’, usually given in flight.

Where is it found?

It is found over much of Australia, with six subspecies currently recognised. 

What are its habitats & habits?

Commonly found in scattered groups and in a variety of habitats, it favours lightly timbered country along watercourses.

Interesting facts

A large-scale genetic study by researchers from the Australian Museum, University of Sydney, CSIRO and the University of Edinburgh discovered a subspecies of the bird.

The newly identified subspecies lives in the regions spanning the Wheatbelt, east of Perth, to the Pilbara in the state’s north-west.

The new subspecies has been named Calyptorhynchus banksii escondidus

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Front cover of Australia's Birdwatching Megaspots book showing a picture of an Eastern Spinebill

This species features in my book Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots

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