Birds of the Redlands - Glossy black-cockatoo

Photo: Marj Kibby

Scientific name: Calyptorhynchus lathami

Status

  • Queensland: Vulnerable (NCA 1992)
  • National: Endangered (EPBCA 1999)

What do they look like?

The Glossy Black-Cockatoo is the smallest of the Australian Black-Cockatoos and is characterised by its very large beak and very small crest. Glossy Black-Cockatoo’s have distinct differences in appearance between the adult male and female birds. The male’s head is brownish in colour whereas the female has irregular patches of yellow over the head and neck. The tail panels are also different: bright red for the male and reddish-yellow barred with black for the female.

Where do they live?

The Glossy Black-Cockatoo family includes three subspecies that are differentiated according to beak and wing morphology, with non-overlapping ranges – Calyptorhynchus lathami lathami has a core population in south-eastern Australia, C. lathami erebus is mainly found in central eastern Queensland, from the Dawson-Mackenzie basin to Paluma and C. lathami halmalurinus has an isolated population in South Australia on Kangaroo Island. 

In the Redlands, you will find Glossy Black-Cockatoos living predominantly on North Stradbroke Island and the Southern Moreton Bay Islands. They are also seen feeding occasionally on the mainland.

What do they eat? 

These cockatoos are highly selective in terms of both the trees and the cones on which they choose to forage. The diet of the Glossy Black-Cockatoo is mainly restricted to the seeds of only two subspecies of She-oaks in south east Queensland;  the Forest She-oak (Allocasuarina torulosa) and the Black She-Oak (A. littoralis).  They have been known to occasionally feed on Casuarina cristata and C. equisetifolia.

What is threatening them?

  • Loss of large trees with large hollows for nesting
  • Nest competition
  • Loss of food resources
  • Predation
  • Wildfire
  • Climate change 

Conservation

Glossy Black-Cockatoos are protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

It is an offence to injure, harass, hurt or interfere with Glossy Black-Cockatoos and their breeding places.

Redland City Council is an active partner of The Glossy Black Conservancy and endeavours to enhance Glossy Black-Cockatoo habitat and manage environmental pests throughout the Redlands to minimise their impact on native ecosystems and endangered animals such as Glossy Black-Cockatoos.

Did you know...?

  • Glossy Black-Cockatoos only lay one egg every two years. 
  • To successfully raise a chick, they need to find large trees (around 200 years old) which have hollows big enough for them to nest and raise their chick.
  • At the end of each day after feeding, the Glossy Black-Cockatoo must stop at a waterhole to drink. The waterhole is usually nothing more than a puddle in a cleared area.
  • When nibbling on food, they only ever use their left foot to hold the cones.

How you can help

  • Join a Bushcare group or community planting and plant more native vegetation, including Glossy Black-Cockatoo food trees.
  • Retain Glossy Black-Cockatoo food trees and hollow-bearing trees and extend their habitat by planting more. 
  • If you have seen Glossy Black-Cockatoos at any location, please enter your sightings in to the Glossy Black Conservancy database and contact council’s environment team at envirodata@redland.qld.gov.au.