Glossy Black Cockatoo

 

The Glossy Black Cockatoo is the smallest of the five black cockatoos. It has a brown-black head, neck and underparts, with red or orange-red tail panels and an otherwise dull black body. The crest is small and inconspicuous and the bill broad and bulbous. Adult females have extensive yellow patches on the head and neck while their tail panels tend to be more orange-red with black bars, but may become less barred and more red with age. Some adult males have a few yellow feathers on the head and their tail panels tend to be bright red. Young birds resemble adult males but have yellow spotted or streaked breasts, bellies and flanks, with some yellow spots on cheeks and sides of head. 

 

The Glossy Black Cockatoo has a patchy distribution having once been widespread across most of the south-eastern part of Australia. It is now distributed throughout an area which extends from the coast near Eungella in eastern Queensland to Mallacoota in Victoria. An isolated population of glossy black cockatoos lives on Kangaroo Island in South Australia.

 

The species has become regionally extinct in parts of western Victoria and south-eastern South Australia. Because they are such specific feeders, preferring the seeds of the drooping she-oak, they live in coastal woodlands and drier forest areas, open inland woodlands or timbered water-courses where casuarinas (or sheoaks), are common. Brigalow scrub or hilly rocky country containing Casuarina species tend to be their preferred habitat in inland NSW.

 

The Glossy Black Cockatoo feeds almost exclusively on Allocasuarina seeds and so is highly dependent on the distribution of Allocasuarina species. In a particular area, birds may feed only on a single species. The birds tend to feed in threes, less commonly in pairs or small groups or in large flocks of up to 60 birds. They can be detected by the clicking of their bills and the falling debris of Casuarina cones and twigs.

 

The Glossy Black Cockatoo mates for life, with pairs maintaining their bond all year round. They require tree hollows for breeding  with the female preparing the nest hollow and incubating the eggs, only leaving the nest to feed herself after the newly hatched nestling is a week old. Males feed the female and nestling throughout the incubation and brooding period. Once fledged, the young bird is fed by both parents for up to four months and remains with them until the next breeding season. 

 

Glossy Black Cockatoos prefer to nest in large eucalypts choosing hollows 3 to 30 metres above the ground. The nesting hollow is lined with decayed debris. They generally nest in the same area as other nesting pairs, sometimes even sharing the same tree. A pair of Glossy Black Cockatoos only breed every second year and produce a single white egg. The chick has a longer nestling period than other cockatoos, up to 90 days, and is dependent for at least 12 months. Glossy Black Cockatoos are known to have a life span that can exceed 30 years.

Discover more about the Glossy Black Cockatoo HERE

© 2019 by LFWAG. Located in South West NSW, Australia

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