… That cockatoos are the loudest of all parrots? They screech and even scream to communicate with each other. In the wild, cockatoos live in the rainforests of Australia, Indonesia, New Guinea and other nearby islands.
Cockatoos are recognizable by the showy crests and curved bills. Their plumage is generally less colorful than that of other parrots, being mainly white, grey or black and often with colored features in the crest, cheeks or tail. On average they are larger than other parrots; however, the cockatiel, the smallest cockatoo species, is a small bird. s. The five large black colored cockatoos of the genus Calyptorhynchus form one branch. The second and larger branch is formed by the genus Cacatua, comprising 11 species of white-plumaged cockatoos and four monotypic genera that branched off earlier; namely the pink and white Major Mitchell’s cockatoo, the pink and grey galah, the mainly grey gang-gang cockatoo and the large black-plumaged palm cockatoo.
Cockatoos prefer to eat seeds, tubers, corms, fruit, flowers and insects. They often feed in large flocks, particularly when ground-feeding. Cockatoos are monogamous and nest in tree hollows. Some cockatoo species have been adversely affected by habitat loss, particularly from a shortage of suitable nesting hollows after large mature trees are cleared; conversely, some species have adapted well to human changes and are considered agricultural pests.
The yellow-tailed black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus funereus) is a large cockatoo native to the south-east of Australia measuring 55–65 cm (22–26 in) in length. It has a short crest on the top of its head. Its plumage is mostly brownish black and it has prominent yellow cheek patches and a yellow tail band. The body feathers are edged with yellow giving a scalloped appearance. The adult male has a black beak and pinkish-red eye-rings, and the female has a bone-coloured beak and grey eye-rings. In flight, yellow-tailed black cockatoos flap deeply and slowly, and with a peculiar heavy fluid motion. Their loud eerie wailing calls carry for long distances.
The yellow-tailed black cockatoo is found in forested regions from south and central eastern Queensland to southeastern South Australia including a very small population persisting in the Eyre Peninsula. Two subspecies are recognised, although Tasmanian and southern mainland populations of the southern subspecies xanthanotus may be distinct enough from each other to bring the total to three. Birds of subspecies funereus (Queensland to eastern Victoria) have longer wings and tails and darker plumage overall, while those of xanthanotus (western Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania) have more prominent scalloping.
Unlike other cockatoos, a large proportion of the yellow-tailed black cockatoo’s diet is made up of wood-boring grubs, and they also eat seeds. They nest in hollows situated high in trees with fairly large diameters, generally Eucalyptus. Although, they remain common throughout much of their range, fragmentation of habitat and loss of large trees suitable for nesting has caused a population decline in Victoria and South Australia. In some places yellow-tailed black cockatoos appear to have adapted to humans and they can often be seen in parts of urban Sydney and Melbourne. It is not commonly seen in aviculture, especially outside Australia. Like most parrots, it is protected by CITES, an international agreement, that makes trade, export, and import of listed wild-caught species illegal.
We see the white cockatoos very often here. The black ones though are a treat, so I think. On one of our last hikes we had the pleasure to spot a flock of yellow-tailed black cockatoos. They are beautiful and I believe it’s a beautiful gift of nature to be able to observe them in the wild and something I’m grateful to have witnessed.