Baudin’s black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus baudinii)

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Baudin's black cockatoos perched on bare branches
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Baudin’s black cockatoo fact file

Baudin’s black cockatoo description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPsittaciformes
FamilyPsittacidae
GenusCalyptorhynchus (1)

Baudin’s black cockatoo is one of the 53 native parrot species seen in the Australian skies, their wailing cries penetrating their surroundings as they fly (5) (6). Also known as the long-billed black cockatoo, this bird is very similar in appearance to Carnaby’s or the short-billed black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris). Both have dusky-black feathers with off-white edges, creating a pattern of thin, scale-like crescents, as well as long black tails with a broad white band, and a white cheek patch (6). The only noticeable external difference between the two species is the longer and more pointed upper mandible of Baudin’s black cockatoo, as implied by their respective common names (2) (6) (7). The fine point of Baudin’s black cockatoo’s bill enables it to prise out the seeds of the very hard wooden fruits of the marri (Corymbia calophylla), a preferred food of the species (7) (8).

Also known as
Long-billed black-cockatoo, white-tailed black-cockatoo.
Synonyms
Calyptorhynchus funereus baudinii.
Size
Length: 50 – 56 cm (2)
Weight
560 - 770 g (2)
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Baudin’s black cockatoo biology

Baudin’s black cockatoo generally lives in pairs or small groups in summer, often forming permanent pairs, but may congregate in large flocks during winter (6) (7). In summer, the birds mostly confine themselves to karri and marri forests, where they nest in hollows or the main trunk of old, large eucalypt trees (7) (9). A clutch of one to two eggs is laid by the female and incubated for about four weeks (7). Only one chick usually survives to fledge (2) (11), leaving the nest after around 90 days (7).

In forested areas, Baudin’s black cockatoos mainly feed on the seeds of marri and karri (7) (10). They are also fond of ripping timber apart to get at large, wood-boring grubs, and apple and pear orchards are frequently raided for the seeds of their fruit (7) (10).

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Baudin’s black cockatoo range

Confined to the south-west of Western Australia, mostly between Perth, Albany and Margaret River. Breeding takes place in the far south of the range, from Nornalup north to near Bridgetown, though occasionally further north to Lowden and Harvey (9).

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Baudin’s black cockatoo habitat

Baudin’s black cockatoo is found primarily in moist, temperate forest and woodland dominated by the eucalypts marri (Corymbia calophylla), karri (Eucalyptus diversicolor) and jarrah (E. marginata), but can also be found in apple and pear orchards and occasionally in wandoo E. wandoo woodland (9) (10). Whereas this species largely occupies coastal regions, its close relative, Carnaby’s cockatoo, is usually found further north and inland in drier woodlands, but there is substantial overlap (8) and in summer and autumn the two species occur in the same woodlands and forest over a large part of the range of Baudin’s black cockatoo (7).

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Baudin’s black cockatoo status

Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3). In Australia, it is listed as Vulnerable on the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) 1999 (4).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered

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Baudin’s black cockatoo threats

Up to a quarter of this species’ habitat has been cleared for agriculture, causing considerable historical population declines. Logging of marri, first for woodchips and now for use in flooring and furniture, has dramatically reduced the availability of food and nesting trees. Additionally, many nest hollows have been found to be occupied by feral bees, which not only limit the bird’s nest availability, but are also known to have caused the loss of chicks and killed a brooding female. Competition for nests from maned geese (Chenonetta jubatta) and Australian shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides) may also be a factor as duck numbers increase in the south-west (9) (12).

Although the bird has been protected since 1996, shooting by orchard farmers still occurs (9) (10). ‘Damage licenses’ (shoot to scare only) can be issued allowing crop owners to “protect orchard crops” if it can be demonstrated that these cockatoos are causing damage (11) (13). Over past decades, farmers protecting their crops have probably culled thousands of these birds, and continue to do so at a reduced rate, with devastating consequences (13).

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Baudin’s black cockatoo conservation

Baudin’s black cockatoo is listed under Appendix II of CITES, limiting international trade in the species (3), and it is illegal to take these birds from the wild, with a penalty of up to a maximum of $10,000 for such an offence (12) (13). This cockatoo is given special protection under Western Australia’s Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (4) and has been protected under Australian law since 1996 (9). Forest management has now changed so that woodchipping practices ceased in 2003 (9) (10). However, the bird still clings to a precarious existence, and further conservation measures are desperately required to safeguard its future, including: making all shooting by commercial orchard farmers illegal; developing non-lethal methods of damage control; developing and implementing a feral bee control strategy; and protecting mature marri trees, relied upon so heavily as nest and food sources by this rare endemic bird (9). A Recovery Plan is also being prepared to help conserve this species (12).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

For more information on Baudin’s black cockatoo see:

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Authentication

Authenticated (27/11/2006) by Dr. Peter Mawson, Principle Zoologist, Western Australia’s Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC).
http://www.calm.wa.gov.au/

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Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Feral
Having become wild from a state of cultivation or domestication.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (June, 2008)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Johnstone, R.E. and Storr, G.M. (1998) Handbook of Western Australian Birds. Vol. 1. Western Australia Museum, Australia.
  3. CITES (June, 2006)
    http://www.cites.org
  4. Australian Government - Department of the Environment and Heritage (June, 2006)
    http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=59523
  5. Australian Government – Department of the Environment and Heritage; Australia’s megadiversity (June, 2008)
    http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/nrs/science/megadiversity.html
  6. Oiseaux.net (June, 2008)
    http://www.oiseaux.net/birds/long-billed.black-cockatoo.html
  7. Lindsey, T. (1998) Parrots of Australia. New Holland Publishers, Sydney.
  8. Field Guide to Australian Birds: COMPLETE COMPACT EDITION (July, 2006)
    http://www.michaelmorcombe.com.au/whitetailedblack.html
  9. BirdLife International (July, 2006)
    http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/index.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=1390&m=0
  10. Garnett, S.T. and Crowley, G.M. (2000) The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000. Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Australia. Available at:
    http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/action/birds2000/
  11. Second Chance Birds (July, 2006)
    http://www.secondchancebirds.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1827&sid=1e2aebdd1a92935cddc5aa4ef9fd81e6
  12. Mawson, P. (2006) Pers. comm.
  13. The Parrot Society UK (September, 2008)
    http://www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/index.php/Article_5/75
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Baudin's black cockatoos perched on bare branches  
Baudin's black cockatoos perched on bare branches

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