Black Cockatoos in Southern WA are ALL Endangered and need our help

Female Forest Red Tail Black Cockatoo
Female Forest Red Tail Black Cockatoo
  • Participate in the Great Cocky Count for Bird life Australia. It happens every year around mid to late March.

What can you do?

  • Plant food for them, ideally in clumps so they can feed for a while (see "who eats what").
  • Provide water 
  • Keep large trees on properties that the Cockatoos roost in or feed from (Marri, Jarrah, Pine & Banksia especially) and disinfect when cutting...see below..
  • SAVE Nesting hollow trees~ Old (dead or alive) Marri, Karri, Jarrah, Wandoo, Salmon Gum, Tuart and Bullich.
  • Traffic: Slow down if they are feeding on or near the road (they are big birds which take time to get off the ground).
  • If you see an injured bird/ collide with one and cannot stop contact a carer, so that they can go and check.
  • Encourage farming without pesticides (the birds get poisoned (seem drunk) take to a vet asap if found.
  • Put up nesting hollows
  • Donate (more below)
  • Report sightings (to the Museum -Ron Johnstone) and there is an app for Bird life Australia if you are in South West WA.

Spread the word, just because we see Black Cockatoos, doesn't mean there are many.

You may just be seeing the same flock and they may not be breeding anymore

(due to age, or lack of available nesting hollows).

There is an injured bird what do I do? and who to call even if you cannot stop ....

Whats in a name?..... A Noongar Tale about Black Cockatoos

'Noongars believed that Karrak the red-tailed black cockatoo acquired its red tail markings on the tail from Ngo-lak the white tailed carnaby's cockatoo.

Tradition says that Ngo-lak was trying to defend a dingo which was attacking Chitty Chitty the willy wagtail.

Mulal the swamp hen was feeding at the time on a sedge, the roots of which ooze red sap, and he cut a reed and struck Ngo-lak across his back.

When Ngo-lak spread his tail to defend his back, Mulal threw lumps of red sap at his tail.

Ngo-lak became so hoarse from screaming that he could only vocalize "karrak" instead of the carnabys' call of "wola" and turned into Karrak, the red-tailed black cockatoo'.

Except from the Sydney Morning Herald Article:  Ancient tales of Perth's fascinating birds.


*Which Black Cockatoo is it?

Forest Red Tail Black Cockatoo

Calyptorhynchus banksii naso

Karrak (Noongar name)


Male: solid red and black tail feather

Female: yellow spots on face, neck and wings and striped on the chest and  yellow to red stripes on tail (you can see the female tail feathers in the top image).

The Juveniles in all species looks similar to a female till they mature at about age 3.

 (L) Carnaby & (R) Baudin White Tail Black Cockatoo

 Zanda latirostris & Zanda baudinii

Ngoolark (Noongar name for both I believe).


Short billed V Long billed

Bill- From the front: wider across the "nose" V long and slender 

In both species:

Eye ring: Female grey, Male red  (these are both female).


More features: Carnaby  Baudin 

more details...what they sound like, what nuts they have chewed look like etc

 This link gives appearance, call samples, areas they live in, general food info' for the 3 Types of Black Cockatoos etc.

(White tails : Baudin & Carnaby's and the Forest Red tail). (* Link provided by Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Recovery.)


*Who's eating What?

Table from Bird Life Australia's 14 page PDF article "Black Cockatoo Guidelines 2019" please see link for EXTENSIVE info.


Some "Smaller" food plants 


Red Tail's:  Silver Princess, Western Sheoak

White Tails: Slender Banksia, Harsh Hakea, Honey Bush etc

ALL: Pincushion Hakea (red tails have been reported feeding on these too).

Please see the chart & other links etc for further ideas.


Important: Try and plant food trees together/ near existing feeding spots and habitat to most effectively feed of feathered friends.

  •  Baudin's: Nuts and flowers from Marri, Banksia, Hakea and Jarrah trees (plus apples and pears).
  • Redtails ~ Marri, Jarrah, Blackbutt, Karri, Sheoak and Snottygobble (Cape lilac) etc 
  • Carnaby's ~ Banksias, Dryandra, Hakea, Eucalyptus, Corymbia (Marri), Gravillea and Jarrah (Pine) etc
  • (* Links from Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Recovery.)
  • An EXTENSIVE list for Carnaby's from the DPAW

A 2 Page PDF regarding Food Planting from Bird Life Australia "Choosing for Black Cockatoos" 


Banksias and other plants can be Phosphorous sensitive, please check this link for detailed information 

Keeping Trees Healthy

A number of the trees Black Cockatoos feed on are subject to a variety of diseases (see the  PDF or check here) and Marri Canker Specific info here.

Basic Tips: if you want to keep trees healthy, reduce stress and think of any 

Dieback and Tree Decline Info.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.2 MB

"cut" you make as being like a cut on your skin, you need to sterilise the equipment between cuts, even on the same tree, to prevent spreading disease. (I have been told Tea tree oil is good to use for fungal issues, I do not know the dilution ratio, please do your own research and never wipe it on the "wound" of the tree (unless advised) it is just for disinfecting the equipment between cuts.

Tips for Reducing stress: leave the tree "alone" as much as possible, no pesticides, plant tress away from walk ways/ traffic if possible (it appears that with Marri Canker, the trees not "exposed" to human interference, were usually the healthier ones).

If you want help with treating a tree or any arborist service we highly recommend! Ecological Tree Service 

A very informative WA Museum video about the plight of Black Cockatoos

Ron Johnstone~ Curator of Ornithology/ Terrestrial Zoology at the Museum of Western Australian.


Baudin's and Carnaby's Cockatoos are listed as endangered, and the Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo as threatened. All have suffered a substantial loss of habitat and a decline in numbers. Baudin's Cockatoo faces the paradox of being listed as endangered and declared as an agricultural pest to commercial orchards which is a challenging plight indeed.

Join Ron Johnstone as he examines the causes of this decline and how the conservation of Baudin's Cockatoo in particular provides us with a great challenge for the future. This lecture was recorded at the WA Museum – Albany on 24 June 2010.

Why Tree Hollows Matter!!

Tree hollows = a place to Nest.....

No hollows = no nesting = no birds....

it is that simple.

 Currently there is competition with hollows (other bird species, other Black Cockatoos and feral bees) so breeding is reducing. If you have a place where Cockatoos come to breed installing an artificial nest hollow can be a wonderful contribution to their continued survival.

This video is not based in WA  (and therefor shows a different subspecies), however it does show that magic of Red Tail Black Cockatoos and the joy of a fledglings first flight.

You can also hear the distinct sound that the juveniles make (in all Red Tail Black Cockatoos), so if you see a local flock and hear this sound you will know there is a young one amongst them, enjoy....

How to Donate:

You can Donate to Bird life Australia or Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Center - which also has a lot of helpful information or the Perth Zoo which also treats many injured Cockatoos.

We will also be donating 10% or more from all photography sold to these places.

You can also join Bird life Australia to get more involved and stay in the loop and also Kaarakin has gifts  you can purchase and wonderful private tours you can do to get close up and personal.

Black Cockatoos and your Property: Extensive Information from Bird Life Australia

The different types of Black Cockatoos, their location, habitat, protecting & growing their bush, adaption, re-vegetation, watering holes needs, nesting hollows/boxes, what to do with an injured animal (also shown on this page), why to record sighting etc

Carnaby's cockatoos in the Perth
metropolitan area. Photo – DBCA

Black cockatoos, belonging to the Calyptorhynchus genus, are large, black-feathered cockatoos that have loud, distinctive calls and are most often observed flying and feeding in small to large flocks. There are three threatened species of black cockatoo that are found in Western Australia:

  • Carnaby’s cockatoo Calyptorhynchus latirostris is one of two species of white-tailed black cockatoo found in south-west WA.
  • Baudin’s cockatoo Calyptorhynchus baudinii is the other white-tailed black cockatoo found in south-west WA
  • Forest red-tailed black cockatoo Calyptorhynchus banksii naso is one of three subspecies of red-tailed black cockatoo and it is found in south-west WA. The two other subspecies of red-tailed black cockatoos in WA are not threatened: C. b. macrorhynchus is found in the Kimberley, and C. b. samueli is found in the Pilbara, Midwest and Wheatbelt.

Refer to NatureMap for information regarding the distributions of these species and download the following information sheets for further details about identification, habitat, biology and behaviour and management:

Carnaby’s cockatoo Calyptorhynchus latirostris, Baudin’s cockatoo Calyptorhynchus baudinii and the forest red-tailed black cockatoo Calyptorhynchus banksii naso are threatened species under State and Commonwealth legislation. In Western Australia, Carnaby’s cockatoo and Baudin’s cockatoo are listed as Endangered fauna, and the forest red-tailed black cockatoo is listed as Vulnerable fauna under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.  Nationally they have the same listing categories (Endangered for Carnaby’s cockatoo and Baudin’s cockatoo, and Vulnerable for forest red-tailed black cockatoo) under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

How you can help

If you suspect black cockatoos are being harmed or captured, or find an injured or dead cockatoo, call the 24-hour Wildcare Helpline on (08) 9474 9055.

You can also assist with roost counts and surveys by joining in with the Great Cocky Count. The Great Cocky Count is an annual, community-based survey where volunteers count black cockatoos at night-time roost sites across the south-west of the state on a single night in April.

Plant food plants or future nesting trees:

Erect artificial hollows in suitable trees within their natural breeding ranges. The following documents are specifically about artificial hollows for Carnaby’s cockatoo but can also be used for Baudin’s cockatoo and the forest red-tailed cockatoo:

Black Cockatoo Hollow Design and the many Considerations by DBCA 2023


Main threats to the black cockatoos

  • Ongoing and extensive breeding and foraging habitat loss and degradation due to vegetation clearing.
  • Nest hollow shortages and a lack of regeneration of potential nest tees due ongoing vegetation clearing, fire, altered hydrology, salinization, grazing, weed invasion, climate change and Phytophthora dieback.
  • Competition for limited nest hollows with other black cockatoos, galahs, corellas, Australian shelducks, wood ducks and feral European honey bees.
  • Illegal shooting by orchardists and pine plantation owners.
  • Death and injury resulting from vehicle collisions.
  • Reduced food and water availability due to inappropriate fire regimes, wild fires and climate change.

Recovery Plans

Department of Parks & Wildlife (2013). Carnaby’s Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) Recovery Plan. Perth, WA: Department of Parks and Wildlife.

The National Recovery Plan for Carnaby’s cockatoo outlines actions that are being implemented to improve the conservation status of the species:

  • Protect and manage important habitat including breeding and non-breeding habitat and associated feeding habitats.
  • Undertake regular monitoring of nest hollows and non-breeding factors (i.e. roost sites, feeding habitat).
  • Inform the management of the species by conducting research into: population demographics and health, climate change modelling, movements and feeding and roosting behaviour.
  • Monitor and manage the impacts of motor vehicle collisions, shooting, poaching and illegal habitat destruction.
  • Engage with the broader community to continue to promote community awareness, understanding and involvement in conservation actions.
  • Undertake information and communication activities to achieve a higher level of acceptance and understanding by decision makers and proponents

Department of Environment and Conservation (2008). Forest black cockatoo (Baudin’s cockatoo Calyptorhynchus baudinii and forest red-tailed black cockatoo Calyptorhynchus banksii naso) Recovery Plan. Perth, WA: Department of Parks and Wildlife.

The National Recovery Plan for Baudin’s cockatoo and the forest red-tailed black cockatoo outlines actions that are being implemented to improve the conservation status of both species:

  • Eliminate illegal shooting and develop non-lethal means of mitigating fruit damage by Baudin’s cockatoos in orchards.
  • Map feeding and breeding habitat, and identify and manage important sites.
  • Determine patterns and significance of movements.
  • Monitor demographic indicators (population size, distribution, trends).
  • Identify factors affecting the number of breeding attempts and breeding success and manage nest hollows to increase recruitment.
  • Determine and implement ways to: remove feral honeybees from nesting hollows, minimise the effects of mining and urban development on habitat loss, and manage forests for conservation.
  • Maintain and promote community awareness and support.
Successful breeding in artificial hollows at Coomallo, near Badgingarra. Photo – DCBA

Recovery Projects

The Western Australian Museum and Water Corporation launched the Cockatoo Care research initiative in 2001, with the aim of researching the distribution and ecology of black cockatoos and threats to their survival, as well as implementing measures to encourage the conservation of the species.

The Department of the Environment has published a referral guideline for the three species of black cockatoos in WA, which provide guidance for vegetation clearing and other activities that could have a significant impact on the species and their habitats.

The Department of Parks and Wildlife and BirdLife Australia identified critical nesting and foraging habitat in the Wheatbelt region in 2009-2010, which led to the fencing of high quality areas of remnant native vegetation. pdfMethods to map956.73 KB roosting cockatoos on the Swan Coastal Plain and Jarrah Forests has been developed, leading to the production of maps of breeding, roosting and feeding habitat. BirdLife Australia has also identified 12 important Bird Areas specifically for Carnaby’s cockatoo, and the Department monitors key nesting sites across the Wheatbelt region.

The Forest Black Cockatoo Recovery Team and the Carnaby’s Cockatoo Recovery Team, led by the Department of Parks and Wildlife, have been assisting with the implementation of recovery actions as outline in the recovery plans.

Perth Zoo,Karaakin black cockatoo conservation centre,Native Animal Rescue, and Jamarri Black Cockatoo Sanctuary are involved in rehabilitating injured black cockatoos for release back into the wild and educating the community about the conservation of these species.

The Department of Parks and Wildlife, BirdLife Australia and the WA Museum have been involved in installing artificial nest hollows and repairing damaged and degraded natural nest hollows. 

Further Information