Central Australia BirdsCentral Australia Birds — Index Australian Hobby (Falco longipennis) Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii) Spotted Harrier (Circus assimilis)

The Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii) is a grey-black to glossy black in colour with an erectile crest, that forms a rounded helmet shape when it is raised and pushed forward. They are endemic to Australia.

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii), Owen Springs Reserve NT © Dorothy Latimer
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii), Owen Springs Reserve NT © Dorothy Latimer
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii), Owen Springs Reserve NT © Dorothy Latimer
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii), Owen Springs Reserve NT © Dorothy Latimer
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii), Owen Springs Reserve NT © Dorothy Latimer
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii), Owen Springs Reserve NT © Dorothy Latimer

Whilst not as common as some of our other endemic Central Australia parrot species, they are a popular bird to observe and can sometimes be noisy, especially when in groups.

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii), Owen Springs Reserve NT © Dorothy Latimer
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii), Owen Springs Reserve NT © Dorothy Latimer

The male Red-tailed Black Cockatoo has bright red panels in its tail, whilst the female cockatoo have a more yellow-orange-red barred panels in its tail. The male Red-tailed Black Cockatoo have a large bill, which is a darker bill to that of the female.

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii), Owen Springs Reserve NT © Dorothy Latimer
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii), Owen Springs Reserve NT © Dorothy Latimer
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Redbank Waterhole © Dorothy Latimer
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Redbank Waterhole © Dorothy Latimer

The female cockatoo have fine yellow spots on the head with yellow barring across the breast. The juveniles have similar markings to the female cockatoo, with paler yellow barred underparts. This remain until puberty (this occurs around four years of age), when reaching maturity, the male cockatoos yellow tail feathers are gradually replaced with red ones. This process takes approximately four years. The juveniles also have a duskier coloured bill.

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii), Owen Springs Reserve NT © Dorothy Latimer
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii), Owen Springs Reserve NT © Dorothy Latimer

See our section on Owen Springs Reserve | Fauna | Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

Check out our section in Fauna | Birds | Parrots | Red-tailed Black Cockatoo and our blog Strike a pose.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Cacatuidae
  • Genus: Calyptorhynchus
  • Subgenus: Calyptorhynchus
  • Species: Calyptorhynchus banksii
  • Subspecies:
    • C. b. banksii
    • C. b. graptogyne
    • C. b. macrorhynchus
    • C. b. naso
    • C. b. samueli

Central Australia BirdsCentral Australia Birds — Index Australian Hobby (Falco longipennis) Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii) Spotted Harrier (Circus assimilis)

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