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

Black cockatoos, belonging to the Calyptorhynchus and Zanda 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 (Zanda latirostris, previously Calyptorhynchus latirostris) is one of two species of white-tailed black cockatoo found in south-west WA.

  • Baudin’s cockatoo (Zanda baudinii, previously 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. banksii is found in the Kimberley, and C. b. escondidus found in the Pilbara, Midwest and Wheatbelt.

For further details about identification, habitat, biology and behaviour and management of these species download the following information sheets:

Carnaby’s cockatoo, Baudin’s cockatoo and the forest red-tailed black cockatoo 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 illegally captured, or if you find an injured or dead cockatoo, call the 24-hour Wildcare Helpline on (08) 9474 9055.

If you think you have seen a black cockatoo, fill out a report form (full or simple version) and send it to the Species and Communities Program at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you see black cockatoos frequently visiting your area and you are interested in recording them regularly, you can use the black cockatoo monitoring form. 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.

Information on plant food plants or future nesting trees:

Erect artificial hollows in suitable trees and locations. 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 black cockatoo:

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