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Glossy Black Cockatoo Fact File

Calyptorhynchus lathami

Credit: Bowerbirdaus, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Weight

434g

(15.3oz)

Length

46-50m

(18-20in)

Lifespan

Wild 30 years

Captive 30 years

Diet

Herbivore

Seeds

Conservation Status

IUCN

Least Concern

The glossy black cockatoo is the smallest of the five black cockatoo species which are found in Australia. They live along the east coast of Australia with an isolated population on Kangaroo Island.

These birds feed almost exclusively on seeds from a casuarina trees. A pair may need up to 60,000 cones to sustain them each year.

Females will complete the incubation of the eggs on their own. The male remains close by and brings her food during this period.

These birds are increasingly threatened by habitat loss and collection for the pet trade.

Read on to learn more about these brilliant birds.

Appearance

What does the glossy black cockatoo look like?

The glossy black cockatoo is covered by a coat of black feathers across their body. Males and females have slight variations in their pattern. Both have red panels on the underside of the tail but in the female these are edged with yellow. Around the head the male has some brownish feathers while females have irregular patches of yellow feathers on the face. Males may have some sparse patches.

Both genders have a small crown of feathers which is flat and usually folded down.

On the head is a large, rounded bill which is dark in color.

An average glossy black cockatoo will measure 46-50cm (18-20in) long with a weight of 434g (15.3oz).

They are the smallest of the five black cockatoo species.

Diet

What does the glossy black cockatoo eat?


The glossy black cockatoo is a herbivore. These birds feed almost exclusively on Allocasuarina seeds. They preference mature trees as these will provide more nutrients. A pair may visit many trees and test the nutrient quality before settling on one which they will take all the cones from.

Each pair requires as many as 60,000 casuarina cones each year.

Glossy Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami)

Credit: Duncan McCaskill, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Range

Where can you find the glossy black cockatoo?

Australia is the native home of the glossy black cockatoo. Here they can be found along the East coast through Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

They can also be found on King Island in Bass Strait and Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia.

Habitat

What kind of environment does the glossy black cockatoo live in?

These birds make their home in forest and woodland habitats. They require a large number of casuarina trees on which they can feed. A preference for areas which have not previously been cleared is evident.

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Reproduction

How does the glossy black cockatoo produce its young?

Nesting takes place from March to September.

Pairs of these birds will form for life and maintain their bond throughout the year.


Nesting takes place in a tree hollow. Females will prepare their nest and then perform the incubation of the eggs. A single egg is deposited. Incubation lasts for 30 days. She doesn't leave until they reach one week old. Males will bring the female food while she is at the nest.


The male and female will work together to raise the chicks following this. Fledging takes place between 84 and 96 days old.

A chick will remain with its parents and receive food until the next breeding season commences.

Behavior

What does the glossy black cockatoo do with its day?

These birds move around in small groups typically just a pair or three individuals. On a rare occasion groups with up to 60 members may form.

Their vocalization is a soft and gentle, 'tarr-ed' sound. They also produce squawks, croaky calls and wheezes.

Glossy Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami)

Credit: Cabrils, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Predators and Threats

What is impacting the survival of the glossy black cockatoo?

Natural predators of the glossy black cockatoo include brushtail possums which will take eggs from nests.

Populations of the glossy black cockatoo are thought to be declining across their range. On Kangaroo Island, the subspecies halmaturinus is said to be increasing due to conservation efforts on the island.

They are increasingly threatened by habitat loss, increasing development and the suppression of vegetation regrowth due to grazing by stock and introduced herbivores. The availability of suitable habitat has been further reduced by increases in fire activity.

In some parts of their range this species may be collected to supply the pet trade.

Quick facts

Three subspecies of the glossy black cockatoo are recognized. One is restricted to Kangaroo Island.

Glossy Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami)

Credit: Didier B (Sam67fr), CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons

References

Morcombe, M., 2003. Field Guide To Australian Birds. Archerfield, Qld.: Steve Parish Pub.

BirdLife International. 2016. Calyptorhynchus lathamiThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22684749A93045002. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22684749A93045002.en. Downloaded on 02 December 2021.

The Australian Museum. 2021. Glossy Black-Cockatoo. [online] Available at: <https://australian.museum/learn/animals/birds/glossy-black-cockatoo/> [Accessed 2 December 2021].

Backyard Buddies. 2021. Glossy Black-Cockatoo. [online] Available at: <https://backyardbuddies.org.au/backyard-buddies/glossy-black-cockatoo/> [Accessed 2 December 2021].

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. 2021. South Australian subspecies of the Glossy Black-Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami halmaturinus) Recovery Plan 2005-2010. [online] Available at: <https://www.awe.gov.au/environment/biodiversity/threatened/recovery-plans/south-australian-subspecies-glossy-black-cockatoo-calyptorhynchus-lathami-halmaturinus> [Accessed 3 December 2021].

Glossy Black Conservancy. 2021. Homepage – Glossy Black Conservancy. [online] Available at: <https://glossyblack.org.au/> [Accessed 3 December 2021].

NSW Environment, Energy and Science. 2021. Glossy black-cockatoo. [online] Available at: <https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/native-animals/native-animal-facts/parrots/glossy-black-cockatoo> [Accessed 3 December 2021].

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