This white-tailed black cockatoo resembles the Carnaby’s cockatoo. However, the Baudin’s cockatoo is a different species on its own. Its bill is longer, and its calling sound is like a ‘witch-a’ sound. His Scientific Name is Calyptorhynchus baudiini.

About the Baudin’s black cockatoo

Named after the French explorer Nicholas Baudin, the Baudin’s black cockatoo or long- billed black cockatoo is endemic to Western Australia. It is found nowhere else in the world. It is listed as Endangered by both the West Australian and Federal Governments and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Edward Lear described Calyptohynchus (Baudin’s Black Cockatoo) in 1832 and Ivan Carnaby (1908-1974) described Calyptorhynchus latirostris (Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo) in 1948. Calyptorhynchus combines the Greek kaluptus (hidden) and rhunkhos (beak) referring to the dense feathers that covers the lower mandible; latirostris comes from the latin lotus (broad billed) and rosters (beak), and baudinii commemorates French explorer Nicholas Baudin (source: Flocks Colour written by Penny Olsen (2013))

Habitat of the Baudin’s cockatoo

Flocks of Baudin’s can be found north to Gidgegannup, east to Wandering, only west as far as areas such as Midland, Gosnells, Byford, Bunbury and further south in Margaret River, the Stirling and Porongorup Ranges. Baudin’s cockatoos prefer a wetter, more heavily forested habitat to their Carnaby’s counterparts however due to the significant loss of habitats the two groups range may overlap. In Perth, Carnaby’s are more located on the Swan Coastal Plain whereas Baudin’s live in the Perth Hills.

There has been a dramatic decrease in numbers in the last 10 years as its low rate of reproduction (1 chick per year) means that the species cannot replace the large number shot by orchardists. Sadly, this iconic cockatoo is still considered as pest by many farmers and orchardists.

Illegal shooting is a major threat for the Baudin’s black cockatoos

There are penalties of up to $10,000 for shooting black cockatoos under the Wildlife Conservation Act, and up to $250,000 for an individual and $500,000 for a corporation under Commonwealth legislation. However, it is difficult to prosecute due to the farmers and orchardists who hide or destroy the evidence.

If you would like to know more about this, the DVD of “On a Wing and a Prayer” is very informative. Please note that you can purchase the DVD in our online shop.

If you suspect that someone is shooting black cockatoos, contact the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055 or the Parks and Wildlife Manjimup office on 9771 7988.

Logging is also a threat to the Baudin’s cockatoos

Logging, especially in the Nannup area is also a threat to the survival of the species. Few logging companies instruct employees to check trees for hollows before felling the trees.

This black cockatoo was found in the hollow of a felled tree in a logging area around Nannup, WA. Note the damaged feathers. www.therainbirdphotography.com

Other threats

Baudin’s cockatoos are also vulnerable to the loss of habitat and habitat fragmentation. With more and more species competiting for hollows and food sources, their number have sadly dramatically decreased in the last decades.

What does the Baudin’s black cockatoo look like?

Rex is part of our Education Team. She’s an ambassador for her species.

The Baudin’s black cockatoo grows to 50-60 cm in length and weighs between 560 – 720 grams.

It has black feathers edged with a white trim that gives it a scalloped appearance.  It has longer black feathers on the top of its head that form a short crest that can be raised and lowered and a distinctive patch of white cheek feathers.

Its tail feathers have a narrow central panel of all black feathers with white bands on the lateral feathers that extend towards the tip.

The female Baudin’s has a white beak with a black tip, bright white cheek patches and grey eye ring. The male has a black beak, grey white cheek patches and a pink eye ring. Both male and female juveniles have a white beak, grey eye and less white in their tail feathers.

Due to their similar appearance, Baudin’s and Carnaby’s black cockatoos were considered the same species until 1979 however they have differences in bill shape, call (They have a ‘witch-a’ sound while Carnaby’s have a ‘wee-loo’ call), diet and habitats. They are also known as “white-tailed black cockatoos”. Click here to find out more on how to differentiate the two species.

Baudin’s cockatoos diet

Baudin’s or as they are also called, long-billed black cockatoos primarily feed on and nest in marri trees, eating a wide range of other nuts and seeds if marri is not available.

They also eat insects and larvae from under bark and from the wood of live and dead trees. They will forage at all levels from the canopy to the ground. With their long narrow bill the Baudin’s can extract seed from the Marri nut (honkey nut) with little damage to the outside marking mainly the lower part of the nut. Carnaby’s with their shorter bill chew the lip of the nut down or through the side walls to reach the seeds inside.

Baudin’s nest in the hollows of very old Marri, Karri, Wandoo, Tuart and Bullich trees. Trees need to be 100 – 200 years old to have a hollow large enough for black cockatoo breeding.

The female lays one or two eggs in the breeding season, incubating the eggs until hatching. Usually only one chick survives to become a fledgling. The male feeds and protects the females when nesting, and the chick once hatched.

The Baudin’s black cockatoo is gregarious, usually seen in groups of three or small flocks. During the non-breeding season, at sites where food is abundant Baudin’s can gather in large flocks up to 300.

Although habitat loss is its greatest threat, Baudin’s love of commercial fruit crops (apples/pears) is also a significant danger. Some orchardists illegally shoot or poison these protected birds to prevent them from eating their crops.

What you can do to help the Baudin’s black cockatoos

  • Report suspected shooting or poisoning to Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.
  • Protecting their habitat is vitally important, particularly old growth forests. As two thirds of Australia is privately managed rural land, private land owners will play an increasingly important role in conservation of these beautiful birds and other threatened species. If you own or live on land that is habitat for black cockatoo please contact your local Landcare office to find out ways that you can help.
  • Support Kaarakin. We rescue and rehabilitate injured Baudin’s black cockatoos and release them back to the wild once they are fit and ready.
  • If you live in the hills, plant marri trees.
  • Spread the word about the Baudin’s black cockatoos!