Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo

The Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus funereus, is a large cockatoo native to the south-east of Australia. It is found from Eyre Peninsula to south and central eastern Queensland. In some areas they have adapted to humans and can be often seen in many parts of urban Sydney and Melbourne. They are one of the more well-loved and characteristic birds of southern Australia.

Adult birds are between 21.6 and 25.6 inches in length, black overall with paler feather-margins and patches of pale yellow in the tail. The male bird has a black bill, a dull yellow patch behind the eye, and a reddish eye-ring. Females and immatures have a gray eye-ring, a light-colored bill, and a brighter, more clearly-defined yellow cheek-patch. They have particularly large wings and flap deeply, very slowly, and with a peculiar heavy, fluid motion. Their loud, eerie wailing calls carry for long distances, and the combination of sound and silhouette is unmistakable.

Their natural food is varied, but much of the diet consists of seeds of native trees, particularly she-oak, but also Eucalyptus, Acacia, Banksia and Hakea. They are very fond of the larvae of tree-boring beetles and moths, and strip the bark from the trees and tear away at the wood to find them.

The yellow-tailed black cockatoos have a long breeding season. Both sexes construct the nest, which is a large tree hollow, lined with wood chips. The female alone incubates one or two eggs, while the male supplies the food. Usually only one chick survives and stays in the care of its parents for about six months.