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12

Glossy Black-Cockatoo

(Calyptorhynchus lathami)
Alternate name(s): "Leach's Black Cockatoo", "Casuarina Cockatoo"
Aboriginal name(s): Race "lathami": "bilirr" [gamilaraay];
"wayilayn" [western bundjalung]; "ponpontuRong" [tjapwurrung]

Size: 46-50 cm
Weight: 430-500 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 Glossy 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 "lathami"

ADULT

MALE

Near-frontal view of a male Glossy Black-Cockatoo; note the combination of all-dark head/neck and solid red tail panels
(photo courtesy of M. Windeyer)
[Gilgandra Flora Reserve, near Gilgandra, NSW, September 2013]

Near-frontal view of a male Glossy Black-Cockatoo clambering up a Casuarina (photo courtesy of M. Windeyer)
[Gilgandra Flora Reserve, near Gilgandra, NSW, August 2016]

Near-lateral view of a male Glossy Black-Cockatoo (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[O'Reilly's Plateau, Lamington NP, Gold Coast, QLD, January 2020]

Close-up lateral portrait of a male Glossy Black-Cockatoo (photo courtesy of M. Windeyer)
[Gilgandra Flora Reserve, near Gilgandra, NSW, August 2016]

Lateral view of a male Glossy Black-Cockatoo in a casuarina
[Near Wee Waa, NSW, November 2013]

Lateral/ventral view of a male Glossy Black-Cockatoo in a casuarina
[Near Wee Waa, NSW, November 2013]

Near-dorsal view of a male Glossy Black-Cockatoo with wet plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Port Macquarie, NSW, January 2021]

Near-dorsal view of a preening male Glossy Black-Cockatoo with wet plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Port Macquarie, NSW, January 2021]

Near-dorsal view of a male Glossy Black-Cockatoo (photo courtesy of M. Windeyer)
[Gilgandra Flora Reserve, near Gilgandra, NSW, September 2013]

FEMALE

Near-frontal/ventral view of a female Glossy Black-Cockatoo; note the combination of yellow on the neck and solid red tail panels (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Nerang NP, QLD, October 2013]

Near-frontal/ventral view of a female Glossy Black-Cockatoo
[Near Wee Waa, NSW, November 2013]

Lateral view of a female Glossy Black-Cockatoo (photo courtesy of M. Windeyer)
[Gilgandra Flora Reserve, near Gilgandra, NSW, July 2014]

Lateral view of a female Glossy Black-Cockatoo (photo courtesy of C. Pears)
[Katoomba, NSW, March 2010]

Lateral/ventral view of a female Glossy Black-Cockatoo in a casuarina
[Near Wee Waa, NSW, November 2013]

Lateral/ventral view of a female Glossy Black-Cockatoo (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Nerang NP, QLD, October 2013]

Female, right, and juvenile Glossy Black-Cockatoo in flight
[Near Wee Waa, NSW, November 2013]

PAIR

Lateral view of a pair of Glossy Black-Cockatoos - female in front, male at the back (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[O'Reilly's Plateau, Lamington NP, Gold Coast, QLD, January 2020]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Frontal view of a juvenile Glossy Black-Cockatoo; note the barred tail panels (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Port Macquarie, NSW, January 2021]

Frontal/ventral view of a juvenile Glossy Black-Cockatoo looking sideways (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Port Macquarie, NSW, January 2021]

Near-frontal view of a juvenile Glossy Black-Cockatoo with wet plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Port Macquarie, NSW, January 2021]

Near-frontal view of a preening juvenile Glossy Black-Cockatoo with wet plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Port Macquarie, NSW, January 2021]

Near-frontal view of a preening juvenile Glossy Black-Cockatoo (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Port Macquarie, NSW, January 2021]

Near-frontal view of a preening juvenile Glossy Black-Cockatoo (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Port Macquarie, NSW, January 2021]

Near-frontal view of a juvenile Glossy Black-Cockatoo nibbling on a casuarina seed
[Near Wee Waa, NSW, November 2013]

Near-frontal/ventral view of a male, left, and juvenile, right, Glossy Black-Cockatoo in a casuarina
[Near Wee Waa, NSW, November 2013]

Lateral view of a juvenile Glossy Black-Cockatoo (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[O'Reilly's Plateau, Lamington NP, Gold Coast, QLD, January 2020]

Lateral view of a juvenile Glossy Black-Cockatoo struggling to keep its balance
[Near Wee Waa, NSW, November 2013]

Dorsal view of a juvenile Glossy Black-Cockatoo (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[O'Reilly's Plateau, Lamington NP, Gold Coast, QLD, January 2020]

Close-up lateral/ventral view of a juvenile Glossy Black-Cockatoo taking off
[Near Wee Waa, NSW, November 2013]

Blurred vision of one Glossy Black-Cockatoo feeding the other - it is not known to us why the birds went down onto the ground; it was raining at the time, which makes the rock surface reflect in a bluish-grey tint; at no other time have we ever seen a Glossy Black-Cockatoo on the ground, except when drinking water
[Pilliga NR, NSW, March 2009]

Female, right, and juvenile Glossy Black-Cockatoo in flight
[Near Wee Waa, NSW, November 2013]

Race "erebus"

ADULT

MALE

Frontal view of a male Glossy Black-Cockatoo feeding on the seeds of a casuarina
[Mt. Archer NP, QLD, July 2009]

Frontal view of a male Glossy Black-Cockatoo feeding on the seeds of a eucalypt
[Near Kroombit Tops NP, QLD, July 2009]

FEMALE

Near-dorsal view of a female Glossy Black-Cockatoo in flight, displaying the speckled, glossy plumage that gives them their name
[Near Kroombit Tops NP, QLD, July 2009]

PAIR

Near-dorsal view of a pair of Glossy Black-Cockatoos in flight - female at upper left
[Near Kroombit Tops NP, QLD, July 2009]

Race "halmaturinus"

ADULT

MALE

Frontal view of a male (see solid red tail patches) Glossy Black-Cockatoo (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Lathami Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Near-frontal/ventral view of a male Glossy Black-Cockatoo (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Lathami Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Near-frontalventral view of a male Glossy Black-Cockatoo, now seen preening (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Lathami Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

While preening, this male Glossy Black-Cockatoo clearly displays its solid red tail panels (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Lathami Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

FEMALE

Lateral view of a female Glossy Black-Cockatoo (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Lathami Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of a juvenile or immature Glossy Black-Cockatoo (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Lathami Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Lateral view of a juvenile Glossy Black-Cockatoo begging for food (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Lathami Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Dorsal view of an immature or juvenile Glossy Black-Cockatoo (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Lathami Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Dorsal view of an immature or juvenile Glossy Black-Cockatoo; while trying to get a solid foothold, it is displaying prominently its barred bright-red tail panels (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Lathami Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island, SA, March 2016]

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Communal Mobility: Sedentary/dispersive Elementary unit: Pair/family clan

When courting a female, the male Glossy Black-Cockatoo intonates a monotonous song reminiscent (to humans) of a car alarm. Upon the last intonation of the refrain, which increases in volume, the male bows and displays his crest and the red patches on the underside of its tail to the female (see photo). After a few seconds, and possibly after a move to a more advantageous point, the whole routine starts all over.

Blurred ventral view of a male Glossy Black-Cockatoo courting a female by displaying his crest and the conspicuous red tail panels; photographed against the bright light of the background sky, the birds appear to be darker than they are in reality
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, 2005]

Similar to other cockatoo species, Glossy Black-Cockatoos also show playful behaviour, like the male bird in the photo below.

Blurred photo of a male Glossy Black-Cockatoo performing a somersault

Food, Diet

Adults: Casuarina seeds Dependents: Regurgitated seeds Water intake: Daily

Like basically all cockatoos, Glossy Black-Cockatoos are seed-eaters. They have a strong preference for the cones of casuarinas ("She-oaks").

Close-up view of a Glossy Black-Cockatoo cracking a Casuarina seed cone (photo courtesy of M. Windeyer)
[Gilgandra Flora Reserve, near Gilgandra, NSW, August 2016]

Ventral view of a male Glossy Black-Cockatoo chewing on a casuarina seed cone
[Near Narrabri, NSW, October 2006]

Ventral view of a juvenile Glossy Black-Cockatoo chewing on a casuarina seed cone
[Near Narrabri, NSW, October 2006]

Ventral view of a juvenile Glossy Black-Cockatoo chewing on a casuarina cone; note the size and strength of the bill, enabling them to crack these hard seeds (photo courtesy of A. Ross-Taylor)
[Nerang NP, QLD, October 2013]

Contrary to other birds eating cones of conifers, Glossy Black-Cockatoos do not crack casuarina ("She-oak") cones to extract the seeds, but instead eat the whole lot. Below a close look at such a cone, which is about 10 mm long.

Casuarina seed cone

Lateral view of 3 Glossy Black-Cockatoos drinking from a waterhole
[Pilliga scrub, NSW, July 2011]

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.

glossy_20200110.m4a lathami
(NW NSW)
Contact calls (in-flight; family of 4) © MD
glossy_20220528.m4a lathami
(NW NSW)
Contact calls (in-flight; family of 4) © MD

More Glossy Black-Cockatoo sound recordings are available at xeno-canto.org .

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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