Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo (Zanda funerea)

yellow tailed black cockatoo

The yellow tailed black cockatoo, also known as Zanda funerea, is a medium-sized parrot endemic to the northern part of Australia. It lives in forests and woodlands, and unlike many other cockatoos, it doesn’t have prominent yellow coloring on its cheeks or forehead, which gives it its name.

It has bright yellow feathers on its lower back and rump, giving it the appearance of wearing yellow shorts! Its diet consists mainly of seeds, but it will also eat insects and fruits when they are available.

Description

The Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo is a large black cockatoo from the Cacatuidae family that is found in Australia. Their tail is yellow with a black band near the end, and they have a distinctive yellow panel in their wing.

Adults have dark brown eyes, while juveniles have blue eyes. These birds are found in forests and woodlands, where they feed on seeds, fruits, and insects. They are known to mate for life and can live up to 40 years in the wild.

In captivity, they usually only live 20 to 25 years. In 1987 there were less than 100 left in the wild due to hunting and habitat destruction. Now there are over 1000 breeding pairs of these birds left throughout southern Western Australia. One cause of this population increase was the release of captive-bred birds into the wild from 1991 to 2003.

Scientific Name

The scientific name of the yellow tailed black cockatoo is Zanda funerea

Habitat & Distribution

yellow tailed black cockatoo

The yellow-tailed black cockatoo is found in southeastern Australia, from eastern Victoria to southeastern South Australia and southwestern Queensland. It is also found on Tasmania and King Island.

The majority of the population is found in Victoria and southern New South Wales. The habitat of the yellow-tailed black cockatoo is varied, but it generally prefers open woodlands, forests, or heaths.

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Occasionally they are seen in towns near forests. They are not migratory, but their movements are often limited by seasonal conditions such as drought or extreme heat.

Yellow tailed black cockatoo size and weight

The yellow tail black cockatoo is a medium to a large cockatoo. It has black plumage with yellow on the lower back and under the tail. The average adult male is about 55 cm (22 in) long, while the average adult female is about 45 cm (18 in). They can weigh anywhere from 1 to 1.5 kg (2.2 to 3.3 lb).

Yellow tailed black cockatoo feather & plumages

The yellow tailed black cockatoo is a stunning bird with plumage that is almost entirely black. The exception to this is the characteristic yellow tail feathers, which give this bird its name.

Molts

The yellow tailed black cockatoo molts once a year, typically in late summer or early fall. This molting process takes approximately six weeks to complete. During this time, the bird will grow new feathers and shed the old ones.

It may be best to keep the bird secluded during this period as it is susceptible to feather picking during molt. These birds are also prone to droppings on their feathers during molt due to difficulty getting off of perches.

Nesting

The yellow tailed black cockatoo is a cavity nester, which means it will make its home in a hollow tree. The female will lay her eggs in the hollow, and the male will help to incubate them. Once the chicks hatch, they will be cared for by both parents until they are old enough to fend for themselves.

Movements and migration

yellow tailed black cockatoo

The yellow tailed black cockatoo is a long-distance migrant, spending the non-breeding season in Queensland and New South Wales. Some birds may even move as far as Victoria or South Australia.

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During the breeding season, they move back to their nesting areas in the forests of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. Males return before females to help defend their territory against other males.

Diet and Foraging

The yellow tailed black cockatoo is a generalist forager, which means it feeds on a wide variety of food items. Its diet includes fruits, seeds, flowers, insects, and even small vertebrates.

The bird is also known to raid crops, such as maize and wheat. Foraging usually takes place in pairs or small groups, with the birds working together to find food.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

The yellow tailed black cockatoo is a vocal bird, with a range of sounds that it uses to communicate. The most common sound is a loud, screeching call that can be heard over long distances.

This call is used to warn other birds of danger, or to claim territory. The cockatoo also has a softer, gentler call that it uses for communication within the flock. This bird is also known for its mimicry and can imitate the sounds of other animals and birds.

Breeding

yellow tailed black cockatoo

Nests are built in high trees where vegetation is dense and hollows exist for eggs. If there are no suitable hollows, tree trunks can be gnawed open. Four eggs are laid at intervals; incubation takes 26 days. Both parents share feeding duties and defend the nest from predators.

Young leave the nest after about seven weeks but stay nearby with one parent while learning how to fly until nine weeks old. They then follow the adults to their wintering grounds. Once there, they start eating some solid food such as insects and small vertebrates.

They migrate north again when it’s time to breed next year – but this time they take over nests abandoned by last year’s breeders!

Yellow tailed black cockatoo lifespan

The yellow tailed black cockatoo has a lifespan of about 20 to 30 years. However, in captivity, they can live much longer – up to 50 years or more. The oldest recorded yellow tailed black cockatoo was 64 years old! These birds are relatively long-lived compared to other parrot species.

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Yellow tailed black cockatoo conservation status

The Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo is a big, black cockatoo with a beautiful yellow tail. These birds are found in forests and woodlands across eastern Australia, from northern Queensland to southern Victoria.

Sadly, the population of this species has declined sharply in recent years and it is now considered to be vulnerable. The main threats to the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo include habitat loss and fragmentation, illegal logging, firewood collection, and predation by introduced species such as foxes and cats.