Australian Birds, Australian Wildlife, Wildlife
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Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

Forest Red Tailed Cockatoo Karra Perth Hills Korung National Park

The call of the Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii naso) is a sound you simply can’t miss. The discordant ‘ka-rark’ resembling screech is so high-pitched you normally hear this bird before you even see it – no wonder the Forest Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo is aptly called Karrak in Nyungar language. But in case you would’t recognise its call, this Cockatoo is easily identified by its spectacular red and orange tail feathers – a feature that makes them one of the most beautiful Australian birds in my humble opinion.

Endemic to the forests of south-western Australia, the Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (FRTBC) is one of the five subspecies of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos present in Australia. It has a distinctive larger and wider beak than birds from the other subspecies – perfect for cracking its favourite Marri (Corymbia calophylla) and Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) nuts. Marri and Jarrah trees dominate its habitat, not only providing food but also hollows in which the birds can nest. But as these hollows are becoming increasingly scarce by deforestation and competition from over-abundant populations of Galahs, Corellas and European Honey Bees, numbers of FRTBCs have suffered a dramatic reduction of over 50 per cent over the past 40 years. This devastating decline is further explained by pressures such as poaching for the aviculture market and shooting by fruit farmers, and moreover, the population is certainly not going to recover quickly regarding the extremely low breeding productivity of this enigmatic bird – only about 10% of birds breed annually while the average clutch size is one.

Gumnuts Cockatoos Korung NP

When moving around in the area last week I already spotted a small flock of FRTBCs foraging on the roadside. I therefore decided to keep my eyes open for any falling leaves and gum nuts – a sure sign of Cockatoos – on my visit to nearby Korung National Park last Saturday. My search was indeed rewarded with another sighting although the birds, clearly wary of my presence, readily took flight while screeching loudly… Next time I hope to bring back a few more images!

3 Comments

  1. Thanks so much Alison – really wished I’d some better quality shots. Still getting used to my new 500mm lens + speedy action required with those birds + loads of Marchflies = some soft spots here and there…

    Saw you went out with a new toy yourself to capture some exciting action!

  2. Pingback: Karak – Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo | i AM Safari

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