Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo  

Red Tailed Black Cockatoo

The Red-tailed Black Cockatoo is a very large, regal looking bird. Measuring a staggering 2 feet in length weighing as much as 2 pounds, this bird is not only huge, but it is also beautiful, with a bold, shiny black covering. The feathering on the male is entirely black except for his dark red tail bands. The female is actually a very very dark brown that looks almost black, but not quite. She has yellowish orange tail bands instead of red. Juveniles look much like the female with yellow tail bands. They reach the age of maturity around 4 years, in which they will take on the tale band color of either the male or female. As is characteristic of cockatoos, the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo has the tall head crest. Their lifespan is about 50 years or more.



            There are five subspecies of the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo. They include the C. b. banksii, C. b. graptogyne, C. b. macrorhynchus, C. b. naso, and the C. b. samueli.  The graptogyne and naso are both endangered. The only differences in the way these subspecies look is the bird size and female coloration.


            These birds are native to Australia and inhabit most of the northeastern portion of the continent as well as a bit on the western coastline. They seem to prefer dry climates, but are found in a variety of habitats, including rainforests, grasslands, woodlands, and shrub-lands.


            Their diet in the wild consists mostly of nuts and seeds with the occasional fruit. They will also eat insects and grubs.  In captivity, a wholesome pellet is a good staple, with supplements of seed and fresh fruits and veggies daily.


            The mating ritual of these birds is a very interesting site. The male will display his crest and puff his cheek feathers while "singing" and dancing about in front of a female. The female will either accept or not. These birds mate for life. Once a pair meet, they stay together until one or the other perishes. They nest in hollowed out tree trunks. The nest is mostly made up of chewed pieces of wood and the female lays up to 2 eggs at a time, with only one chick usually surviving.


            Unlike in Australia, this bird is incredibly expensive in the United States. For this reason, it is quite rare as a pet here. They are more common in zoos. They do make great pets though. They are very affectionate and are very capable of learning to talk.


Common Diseases:

·                     Psittacine beak and feather disease

·                     Aspergillosis

·                     Sarcocystis

·                     Proventricular dilation disease

·                     Feather picking


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