Baudin's black cockatoos banner video background © WWF-Aus / Simon Cherriman

© WWF-Aus / Simon Cherriman

Baudin's black cockatoo

For a large cockatoo, the Baudin's black cockatoo sure is mysterious. We know broadly where it can be found – in the dense eucalypt forests of the far southwest Australia – but precious little is known about the bird's habits or movements. Unlike its more familiar cousin, the world's only other white-tailed black cockatoo – the Carnaby's cockatoo – the Baudin’s remains something of an enigma.

It makes the task of conserving this endangered species all the more challenging. But with total numbers hovering at just 10,000, time is of the essence.

What we do know is that this cockatoo mainly feeds high in the forest canopy on the seeds of marri and that its penchant for commercial fruit crops can prove deadly. While its decline is primarily due to habitat loss, some orchardists illegally shoot birds found raiding their crops.

What WE'RE doing

View our projects involving Baudin's black cockatoos.

Male and female Baudin\

Why it matters 

 
That one of Australia's largest parrots remains a mystery to us is enchanting; that it is also endangered is alarming. Sadly the Baudin's black cockatoo may not be around long enough for us to learn its secrets.

 

The Baudin's cockatoo lives mainly in flocks but birds sometimes congregate in large numbers at nightly roosting sites, especially in winter. The cockatoos generally live in pairs or small groups in summer, when they confine themselves to karri and marri forests, nesting in the hollows of old eucalypt trees, if they can find them.

Even with a secure nesting site, the Baudin's cockatoo's reproductive rate is frighteningly slow; each pair produce, on average, just one chick every two years. Take a mature breeding bird out of the equation, due to illegal shooting, and it can threaten an entire generation.

Living such a precarious existence, and facing a raft of pressures, the magnificent Baudin's cockatoo needs urgent support to secure its future.

Rex, female Baudin\

Calyptorhynchus BAUDINII

Species Bio

Common Name

Baudin’s black cockatoo

Scientific Name

Calyptorhynchus baudinii

Stats

Length: 50-57cm – Weight: 560-770g
Estimated population: 10,000

Status

Listed as Endangered (Wildlife Conservation Act) and under the IUCN Red List.

 

Named in honour of 18th century French explorer and naturalist Thomas Nicolas Baudin, this species of white-tailed black cockatoo can be distinguished from the Carnaby’s cockatoo by its narrower and longer upper bill, its calls and its preference for more moist temperate forests and woodlands.

 

Did you know?

When Baudin’s call they make a sound like “bunyip-bunyip” or “whichea-whichea”

THREATS

  • Landclearing and deforestation
  • Illegal shooting
  • The Baudin's cockatoo has already disappeared from over 25% of its former range, mainly due to land clearing for agriculture. And habitat loss continues – for urban development, forestry and mining operations. However, the single greatest and most urgent threat to this cockatoo is illegal shooting by orchardists.

    Where fortunate cockatoos can find suitable breeding habitat, nesting hollows are in short supply and this poses an additional threat. Suitable hollows take 130-220 years to develop and are also fiercely coveted by other parrots, wood ducks and European honeybees.

    WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

    One of the most important means of recovery for threatened species and communities is the protection of their habitat.

    Plant food and roosting trees for black cockatoos in your garden. Two-thirds of Australia is privately-managed rural land.

    Private landholders play an increasingly important role in the conservation of biodiversity across Australia.

    If you manage, live on or own land that is habitat for black cockatoos, please contact your local Landcare office to find out ways that you can help.

    Recommended Reading

    © Sian Breen / WWF-Aus

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