Matomo-Image-Tracker Psittaciformes - Calyptorhynchus - Short Billed Black Cockatoo


Carnaby's Black Cockatoo - Zanda Latirostris

The short billed black cockatoo, is a large black cockatoo endemic to southwest Australia. It was described in 1948 by naturalist Ivan Carnaby.It is sometimes called the Carnaby's Black Cockatoo Measuring 53–58 cm (21–23 in) in length, it has a short crest on the top of its head. Its plumage is mostly greyish black, and it has prominent white cheek patches and a white tail band. The body feathers are edged with white giving a scalloped appearance. Adult males have a dark grey beak and pink eye-rings. Adult females have a bone-coloured beak, grey eye-rings and ear patches that are paler than those of the males.


The short billed black cockatoo is 53–58 cm (21–23 in) in length with a 110 cm (43 in) wingspan, and weighs 520–790 grams. It is mostly greyish black, with narrow light grey scalloping produced by narrow off white margins at the tips of dark feathers. The scalloping is more prominent on the neck. It has a crest of 2.5–3 cm (0.98–1.18 in) long feathers on its head that form a short crest that can be raised and lowered, and a prominent off-white patch of feathers on its cheek. Its lateral tail feathers are white with black tips, and the central tail feathers all black. The irises are dark brown and the legs brown-grey. Its beak is shorter and broader than that of the closely related and similar Baudin's black cockatoo; the two are often difficult to distinguish in the field. The adult male has a dark grey beak and pink eye-rings. The adult female has a bone-coloured beak, grey eye-rings and ear patches that are whiter and more distinctive than those of the male. The feathers of its underparts and underwing coverts have larger white margins than those of the male, leading to a more barred or scalloped pattern to its plumage. Its legs and feet are a little lighter than those of the male. Moulting appears to take place in stages in late summer—some time between January or February and April or May, and is poorly understood.

Distribution and Habitat

The short billed black cockatoo is found across a broad swathe of southwest Australia—mostly within the Wheatbelt region—in places that receive over 300 mm (12 in) of rainfall yearly. The limits of its range include Cape Arid to the east, Lake Cronin, Hatters Hill and Lake Moore inland, and Kalbarri to the north. Breeding takes place in areas receiving 350–700 mm (14–28 in) rainfall a year, from the Stirling Range to Three Springs as well as around Bunbury. The cockatoo pairs form flocks outside the breeding season, moving away from nesting areas. Carnaby's black cockatoo is sedentary in wetter parts of its range, and migratory in drier areas as birds move south and west towards the coast in summer.


This cockatoo usually lays a clutch of one to two eggs. It generally takes 28 to 29 days for the female to incubate the eggs, and the young fledge ten to eleven weeks after hatching. The young will stay with the family until the next breeding season, and sometimes even longer. The family leaves the nesting site after the young fledge until the following year. Juveniles have a bone-coloured beak, grey eye-rings, and less white in the tail feathers. They can also be distinguished by their constant begging calls. It is not possible to tell the sexes apart until the male's bill begins to darken. This begins when the male is around one year old, and is complete some time after two years of age. Carnaby's black cockatoo nests in hollows situated high in trees with fairly large diameters, generally Eucalyptus. With much of its habitat lost to land clearing and development and threatened by further habitat destruction, Carnaby's black cockatoo is listed as an endangered species by the Federal and Western Australian governments. It is also classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Like most parrots, it is protected by CITES, an international agreement that makes trade, export, and import of listed wild-caught species illegal.

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