A simple but stunning livery, these birds look amazing in flight. The bird pictured is a male ; indicated by the pink eye ring. In the female the eye ring is grey.
The Yellow – tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus funereus – so named for it’s sombre feather ware) has drifted into our area with lazy wing beats, announcing it’s arrival with a creaking call. Coinciding with the appearance of this bird are the first decent rains of Autumn. I have observed flocks of up to seventeen birds in the last week.
The Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo has incredible strength in it’s beak. It is able to break bark off trees (frequently wattles) and extract borer grubs to feast on. The main item of interest on the menu at the moment are unopened green pine cones, which the Cocky prizes open with little trouble in search of the seeds forming inside. Take a hard hat when walking under pine trees as the birds almost seem to drop them on purpose. If startled they often fly off carrying a pine cone with them.
Like all cockatoos, they need nest hollows high up in large eucalypts to raise one or two young. The young follow the adults for some months begging for a feed. They appear to be nomadic in our area, unlike the Sulphur -crested Cockatoo and the Long-billed and Short-billed Corellas which are permanent residents doing very well with the assistance of horse owners feeding grains to their nags.