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          Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo

          Calyptorhynchus latirostris
          Cacatuidae

          The Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo is classified as Endangered. This may surprise some people, as the species occurs over quite a wide area of south-western Western Australia, where they are often rather conspicuous, sometimes congregating into large flocks. They are even considered pests by some farmers when they descend onto crops of almonds and similar foods. However, their population has declined greatly in recent decades, due mostly to the loss and fragmentation of their preferred habitats, and they need the support of conservation programs to ensure their survival.

          To find out more about BirdLife Australia's work with the Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo, click here.

          Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo in flight by Frank Spolc
          Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo feeding by Claire Bartron

          Identification

          Description

          The Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo is a large, dull-black cockatoo with a short erectile crest and a large bill. The bird is mostly grey-black, with narrow off-white fringes to the feathers, giving it a scaly appearance. This is relieved by a patch of cream-coloured feathers on the ear-coverts, and the tail has large white panels, especially noticeable when the bird is flying. The bill is grey-black on males and off-white on females; males have a pink eye-ring, and females have a grey one; and both sexes have greyish legs and feet, though the females’ are paler.

          Similar Species

          The Baudin’s Black-Cockatoo is very similar, being distinguished at close range by the shape of the bill (it 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); and its habitat (Carnaby’s is usually in woodlands, while Baudin’s is usually in heavily forested areas, but there is some overlap).

          The Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo has red panels in its tail-feathers and lacks a cream-coloured patch on the ear-coverts.

          Images by Claire Bartron, Frank Spolc and Dejan Stojanovic

          Location

          Distribution

          Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos occur only in south-western Western Australia, between Cape Arid and Kalbarri.

          Habitat

          The Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo inhabits native woodlands dominated by eucalypts such as Wandoo and Salmon Gum, as well as nearby heathlands. From late winter till summer, they usually occur in these habitats in inland parts of their range, and in late summer they move to coastal and near-coastal areas, when they sometimes occur in built-up areas.

          Behaviour

          Feeding

          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

          Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos breed in monogamous pairs, and nest in hollows in old eucalypts, which must be 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.

          Conservation Status

          Federal

          Endangered

          NSW

          N/A

          NT

          N/A

          QLD

          N/A

          SA

          N/A

          TAS

          N/A

          VIC

          N/A

          WA

          Rare

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