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Baudin’s Black Cockatoo

Nicole Cosgrove

We have all heard of a cockatoo before. People love to have these birds as pets because they are lively and affectionate. While the Baudin’s Black cockatoo species are beautiful, they are also on the endangered species list, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The smokey feathers of this bird are appealing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean having them as pets would do their kind any favors. The more we learn about these cockatoos, the more we can help them increase their numbers and maybe one day get to have them in our homes.

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Species Overview

Common Names: Baudin’s black cockatoo, long-billed black cockatoo
Scientific Name: Calyptorhynchus baudinii
Adult Size: 22 inches long
Life Expectancy: 40-50 years

Origin and History

This cockatoo gets its name from the 18th-century French explorer Thomas Nicolas Baudin. This is a species of white-tailed cockatoos. These birds are believed to originate from western Australia. They are distinguished by their food begging calls and are only one of two white-tailed species in the area. They are associated with moist and heavily forested areas. Although nobody knows much about their history, we do know that deforestation is one of the main causes of them disappearing from over 25% of their former habitats. However, there are also illegal shootings that are also diminishing their numbers quickly.

Today, their breeding and nesting sites are in short supply, and proper nesting hollows are fiercely protected by parrots, bees, and ducks. There are only about 10,000 birds left of this species that we know of.

The Baudin’s Black cockatoo travels in flocks of up to 300, though there are recorded aggregations of over 1,200. These flocks have declined over the past 50 years. It has a low reproduction rate of only 0.6 chicks per year. These rates mean that it is nearly impossible to replace the numbers at the rates they are being hunted by orchardists. Over the past 20 years, their recorded numbers have declined dramatically near their traditional roosting sites.

We know that these cockatoos live mainly in the eucalypt forests of southwestern Australia. They feed on the eucalypt seeds and fruits like apples and bears.

These cockatoos are also known to eat nectar and flowers, as well as strip the bark of dead trees to search for beetle larvae. They forage from the ground all the way up to the canopies.

Baudin’s Black Cockatoo Colors and Markings

Baudin’s Black Cockatoo are unique birds. They are about 22 inches long and their feathers have multiple shades of dark and light grey scalloping. These birds have a crest of short feathers on the tops of their heads and white feathers that cover their ears. The tail is long and white with black tips, while the central feathers are all black. Their small eyes are dark brown and their legs are a brownish-gray color. One identifiable feature is their long and narrow beak as opposed to their relative, the Carnaby’s black cockatoo. Adult males have dark grey beaks and pink rings around their eyes. Adult females have a more bone-colored beak and grey rings around their eyes. The females also have paler ear patches. Juvenile Baudin’s black cockatoos have bone-colored beaks, grey eye-rings, and less white on their tail feathers.

Baudin’s Black cockatoos only have one extremely close relative. This is the Carnaby’s Black cockatoo. However, there are more that look similar, and all cockatoos are related in some way.

Here is a list of some similar black cockatoo varieties:
  • Baudin’s Black Cockatoo: black, grey, and white bird with a long and narrow beak
  • Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo: white cheek patches and tail feathers
  • Red-tailed Black Cockatoo: black bodies with orange and red tail feathers and crests that protrude bast their bill
  • Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo: black bodies with golden yellow cheeks and yellow tail feathers
  • Glossy Black Cockatoo: short, mohawk-like crest with brown-colored and yellow-splotched heads

Where to Adopt or Buy a Baudin’s Black Cockatoo

You’re out of luck if you think you can buy a Baudin’s Black cockatoo at a pet store. Because this species is on the endangered species list, these animals are not for sale. The only way you would be able to get your hands on one of these cockatoos is by buying them through an illegal market. Even then, this bird would cost over $30,000.

The illegal wildlife trade is an industry that is worth billions of dollars. As animal lovers, it is our duty to protect animals at all costs and help them increase their population numbers in any way that we can. One of the most important ways we can help this cockatoo species is by protecting their habitats. These birds nest in the hollows of Karri, Wandoo, and Mari trees in the eucalypt forests in southwest Australia. Unfortunately, it is mostly up to private landowners to keep these birds from going extinct. If you happen to live in that area, one way to help is to plant food and roosting trees for them on your property.

Another issue that these birds face is climate change. With increasing global temperatures, we are seeing more and more forest fires that threaten their homes. With them stuck to one area, it is getting even more challenging for these birds to find a place to call home.

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Conclusion

The Baudin’s Black cockatoo might not be one that you can take home, but it is one that you can learn more about and get involved with getting them off the endangered species list. Be vocal to your representatives about the dangers of climate change and deforestation. We can’t all live in Australia to help these birds directly, but we can raise awareness and try to get them the help they desperately need and deserve.

Don’t be too bummed out if you were hoping to buy one of these cockatoos and keep them as a pet. All cockatoos have wonderful personalities, and there are many other similar-looking birds that would be excellent companions. If you love animals, make it your goal to appreciate these black beauties and bring awareness to their dwindling numbers.

Related Read: 21 Types of Cockatoo Species & Colors


Featured Image Credit: ChameleonsEye, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.