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12

Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo

(Calyptorhynchus funereus)
Alternate name(s): "Funereal Black Cockatoo", "Yellow-eared Black-Cockatoo", "Black Cockatoo*"
Aboriginal name(s): "wylah"

Size: 58-65 cm
Weight: 750-900 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "funereus"

ADULT

MALE

Near-frontal view of a male Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo; note the skin-coloured eye ring and dark-grey bill, which distinguish it from females
[Near Glen Innes, NSW, May 2014]

Lateral view of a male Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo
[Near Glen Innes, NSW, May 2014]

Dorsal view of a male Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo
[Near Glen Innes, NSW, May 2014]

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo; note the dark eye ring and light-grey bill, which distinguish it from males
[Near Glen Innes, NSW, May 2014]

Near-frontal view of a female Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo feeding on a seed cone
[Near Glen Innes, NSW, May 2014]

Near-lateral view of a female Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo
[Near Gloucester, NSW, September 2011]

Lateral view of a female Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo
[Port Macquarie, NSW, January 2011]

Dorsal view of a female Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo; note the characteristic panels
[Coolah Tops NP, NSW, May 2009]

Dorsal view of a female Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, January 2017]

Lateral view of a female Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo launching itself into the air (photo courtesy of L. Scott)
[Roseberry Creek Valley, near Toonumbar NP, northern NSW, January 2017]

Frontal view of a pair of Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos - male above, female below; note that the female's tail spots are not solid yellow, but finely barred
[Near Gloucester, NSW, September 2011]

Dorsal view of the same pair of Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos as shown above
[Near Gloucester, NSW, September 2011]

Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos are sociable birds that can often be seen in small groups or even flocks of up to 50 individuals
[Near Dungowan, NSW, July 2013]

Near-frontal view of two Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos in flight
[Near Dungowan, NSW, July 2013]

Near-lateral view of two Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos in flight
[Manning Point, NSW, July 2013]

Near-dorsal view of three Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos in flight
[Near Dungowan, NSW, July 2013]

Oh, sh..! (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, January 2017]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Male Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, with a begging juvenile on the right
[Near Glen Innes, NSW, May 2014]

Race "xanthanotus"

ADULT

MALE

Near-dorsal view of a male Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo; note the skin-coloured eye ring and dark-grey bill, which distinguish it from females (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Bruny Island, TAS, March 2016]

FEMALE

Portrait of a female Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Bruny Island, TAS, March 2016]

Breeding information

Breeding season: May - Jan Eggs: 2 Incubation period: 28 days Fledging age: ca. 77 days

The breeding season of Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos depends on geographic latitude. In the SE of Australia it is restricted to the period from Oct to May.

Usually only one of the two chicks survives. It is brooded by the female for about 3 weeks, before the male, who up to then fed the female, will also feed the chick itself.

Nest building: Female(?) Incubation: Female Dependent care: First female, then female & male

Nest

"bungobittah", "malunna" = nest [Aboriginal]

Type: Tree hollow Material: Woodchips for lining Height above ground: 10 - 25 m

Entrance to a nesting hollow in which we observed a Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo
[Jilliby SCA, NSW, July 2013]

Eggs

"boyanga", "booyanga", "derinya", "dirandil", "koomura", "ngampu", "nooluk", "pateena" = Egg; "dirundirri" = eggs [Aboriginal]; "gawu" = eggs [gamilaraay]

Size: 48 x 36 mm Colour: White Shape: Rounded(?)

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Communal Mobility: Sedentary Elementary unit: Pair/small flock

This is the culprit: Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo checking out the photographer
[Jilliby SCA, NSW, July 2013]

Ever the practical joker... male Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo having fun chewing on the bark of a eucalypt tree
[Bald Rock NP, NSW, October 2007]

Food, Diet

Adults: Seeds Dependents: Regurgitated seeds Water intake: Daily

Like basically all cockatoos, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos are primarily seed-eaters, where seeds include those in cones and nut-like fruit. The pair shown above showed a strong interest in the cones of a casuarina tree on which they were found sitting; if that is the case, it indicates that their bills are strong enough to crack those cones.

Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos have been observed by us chomping on tree branches and young trees, apparently feeding on something under the bark, possibly in the (rotten?) core, see below.

Male Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo pulling seeds out of a cone (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, December 2013]

Female Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo pulling seeds out of a cone (photo courtesy of R. Plumtree)
[Ensay South, East Gippsland, VIC, March 2014]

Female Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo feeding on a seed cone
[Near Glen Innes, NSW, May 2014]

Here the same female Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo can be seen pulling seeds out of the seed cone
[Near Glen Innes, NSW, May 2014]

Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos, race "xanthanotus", feasting on seeds (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Bruny Island, TAS, March 2016]

Damage done by a Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo to a young tree; Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatos are known to take grubs, such as e.g. Witchety grubs, that may have caused the initial damage to the plant's core
[Jilliby SCA, NSW, July 2013]

Seed cones of an introduced conifer (left) and one chewed by a Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo...
[Near Glen Innes, NSW, May 2014]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

yeltail_20140526_5.mp3 funereus
(NE NSW)
Contact calls © MD
yeltail_20140526.mp3 funereus
(NE NSW)
Warning calls © MD
yeltail_20140526_6.mp3 funereus
(NE NSW)
Begging calls (juvenile) © MD
yeltail_20140526_3.mp3 funereus
(NE NSW)
Juvenile pestering parent © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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