Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo

Did you know?

The Yellow-Tailed Black-Cockatoo is one of six species of Black-Cockatoo in Australia. In recent years it has been in rapid decline because of native habitat clearance, with a loss of food supply and nest sites.

The contact call is a drawn-out "kee-ow". Some screeches are also given.
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168 days
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What does it look like?

The Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo is a large cockatoo. It is easily identified by its mostly black plumage, with most body feathers edged with yellow, not visible at a distance. It has a yellow cheek patch and yellow panels on the tail. The female has a larger yellow cheek patch, pale grey eye-ring (pink in males), white upper bill (grey-black in males) and black marks in the yellow tail panels. Young birds resemble the adult female, but young males have a smaller cheek patch.

Similar species: 

Until recently, the Short-billed Black-Cockatoo, C. latirostris, found in south-western Australia, was considered a subspecies of the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo. This species has white, instead of yellow, panels in the tail. Another similarly sized black-coloured cockatoo is the Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo, C. magnificus. This species overlaps with the range of the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo in south-eastern Queensland. It has red panels in the tail, and spotting on the body and head. The smaller (48 cm) Glossy Black-CockatooC. lathami, also has red panels in the tail.

Where does it live?

The Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo is found in south-eastern Australia, from Eyre Peninsula, South Australia to south and central eastern Queensland.


The Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo inhabits a variety of habitat types, but favours eucalypt woodland and pine plantations. Small to large flocks can be seen in these areas, either perched or flying on slowly flapping wings.

What does it do?

Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos feed in small to large, noisy flocks. The favoured food is seeds of native trees and pinecones, but birds also feed on the seeds of ground plants. Some insects are also eaten.


Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos have a long breeding season, which varies throughout their range. Both sexes construct the nest, which is a large tree hollow, lined with wood chips. The female alone incubates the eggs, while the male supplies her with food. Usually only one chick survives, and this will stay in the care of its parents for about six months.

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