Nature conservation

Threatened species

Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo (coastal subspecies) - profile

Indicative distribution

   Loading map...
The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Calyptorhynchus banksii banksii
Conservation status in NSW: Critically Endangered
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Gazetted date: 31 Jul 2009
Profile last updated: 13 Jun 2019


The Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo is a large and glossy black cockatoo, with a heavy bill and large erectile crest. Adult males are glossier black than the females, with broad bright-red panels in the tail, and a dark-grey bill and ring around the eye. Adult females, and immatures and juveniles of both sexes, are duller than adult males, with bold yellow spots on the head, neck and wings, yellowish barring to the underbody, and paler panels in the tail, which vary from pale yellow to yellow grading to orange towards the tip. In females and juveniles the bill is off-white; juveniles also have an off-white ring around the eye. Their flight is laboured but rather buoyant, with deeply 'fingered' tips to the wings. Their calls are loud and harsh, with the usual contact call a rolling krurr-ur and their alarm call a sharp krur-rak. Can be confused with the Glossy Black-cockatoo.


The Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo is the most widespread of the black-cockatoos, with five subspecies ranging broadly across northern, eastern and western Australia with and an isolated subspecies in Victoria and South Australia. The nominate subspecies (banksii) of the Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo is now confined to northern and eastern coastal Queensland and, possibly, far north-eastern NSW. In NSW, it occurred historically at least as far south as the Bellinger River and it is likely to have extended as far south as Sydney. The NSW Scientific Committee in its final determination on the status of the species in NSW accepted only four apparently valid records all in the far north-east of the state: in the Tweed and Richmond Valleys: at Bungawalbin Nature Reserve, Round Mountain (Bogangar), Wilsons Creek (north of Alstonville), and at Cabarita.

Habitat and ecology

  • It is thought the most productive habitats for this subspecies were forests and woodlands of fertile riparian flats and floodplains. These area were heavily cleared for agriculture and settlements, with remaining patches severely fragmented, and also degraded by logging. In north-eastern NSW, the subspecies has been reported from dry open forest and mixed rainforest-eucalypt forest.
  • Australia-wide, the species is known to feed mainly on seeds, particularly of species in the genera Eucalyptus, Casuarina, Acacia and Banksia, but they also eat fruit, nectar, flowers and, occasionally, insects and their larvae. They tend to feed mainly in trees in forests and woodlands, but also feed on the ground.
  • Nests in tree-hollows, trunks, spouts or stumps, primarily in Eucalyptus but also in Melaleuca. Although there is no data for NSW, they have been recorded frequently nesting in dead trees, which can have deeper hollows than live trees.
  • For other subspecies, birds usually lay only one egg, though clutches of two are occasionally recorded, and birds may re-nest after the failure of a breeding attempt.
  • In NSW eggs were once recorded in May; in the south-eastern subspecies graptogyne, breeding occurs October to May.
  • The subspecies formerly occurred in large flocks, as well as singly or in small groups, probably family groups.
  • Formerly, in north-eastern NSW, the subspecies appeared to move locally, sometimes with long periods between returns to a site but with regular seasonal occurrence at other sites

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
South Eastern QueenslandBurringbar-Conondale Ranges Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandScenic Rim Known None
South Eastern QueenslandSunshine Coast-Gold Coast Lowlands Predicted None