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Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo

Ed Malaker

The yellow-tailed black cockatoo is a large bird that you will find primarily in Southeast Australia and, as the name suggests, has a bright yellow tail on a black body that you can see from a considerable distance. Conservationists consider it a vulnerable species, so it might be hard to find a breeder. If you are considering getting one of these birds for your home and would like to learn more about it first, keep reading while we discuss diet, habitat, temperament, and more to help you make an informed decision.divider-bird

Species Overview

Common Names: Yellow-tailed black cockatoo, funeral cockatoo, yellow-tailed cockatoo
Scientific Name: Calyptorhynchus funereus
Adult Size: 22–26 inches
Life Expectancy: 40+ years

Origin and History

An English naturalist named George Shaw was the first to describe the yellow-tailed black cockatoo in 1794 when he noticed its dark, somber plumage. The dark feathers got it the name funeral cockatoo and International Ornithologists’ Union named it the yellow-tailed black cockatoo. Today there is some push to shorten the name to the yellow-tailed cockatoo, so it is better accepted. This bird prefers forests and pine plantations where food is plentiful.

Temperament

The yellow-tailed black cockatoo is a day bird that lies to cause a raucous and is quite noisy. Many inexperienced owners are unprepared for the noise this bird creates, which can cause them to give it up for adoption. We highly recommend considering the commotion it can cause in your home before purchasing one. In nature, it enjoys taking long flights while calling to other birds, and you will often see them flying in pairs or triplets. In captivity, it’s generally friendly and will even cohabitate with other birds until the mating season, when you will need to separate it. It’s also extremely curious, and it will enjoy spending time out of the cage to explore your home, often going directly to anything new you bring home. Though it makes a lot of noise in general, it doesn’t seem as bothered as other birds by noise or traffic in or out of the home.

Pros
  • Friendly
  • Calm
  • Large size
Cons
  • Noisy
  • It causes a raucous for attention

Speech & Vocalizations

Unfortunately, the yellow-tailed black cockatoo is not as likely as some other birds to mimic sounds in your home or learn words. Its vocalizations are limited to short squawks and screeches that can be quite loud and jarring, often rendering these birds unsuitable for apartment life, especially if your neighbors are in the same building. The noise gets louder as the bird grows and will become more frequent if it’s unhappy.divider-bird

Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo Colors and Markings

The yellow-tailed black cockatoo has a very dark, almost black body with some hints of brown throughout. The cheeks have large circular patches of yellow along with the tail, and the chest feathers will have slight yellowing on the edges. The beak on a male yellow-tailed black cockatoo is black but is a pale grey on the female. It stands about 2 feet tall and weighs about 1.5 pounds.

Caring for the Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo

Your yellow-tailed black cockatoo is a large bird, which means it will need a large aviary to hold it. If there is not enough space for your pet, it will become increasingly agitated and noisy and can even get depressed and develop health problems. Most owners recommend a minimum cage size of 5 feet wide by 12 feet long and 8 feet tall. Placing a wooden nest box inside will increase your pet’s comfort. There should also be several perches or tree branches your bird can use.

Common Health Problems

Diet and Nutrition

Unlike many other cockatoos that eat only seeds, the yellow-tailed black cockatoo will also eat insects and often act like woodpeckers, chewing and breaking away bark to get at the insects below. It will usually make a small hole to see if insects are inside and if it finds them, it will strip away bark to make a perch before continuing on. These birds will also eat seeds and like to eat the seeds out of pinecones by standing on them while cracking them open piece by piece to get at the food.

Exercise

Your yellow-tailed black cockatoo likes to fly high and far, which is challenging to accommodate in captivity. However, allowing your bird several hours outside the cage each day can help satisfy its curiosity and desire to learn more about its surroundings which can help keep anxiety and loud squawks at a minimum. If possible and safe, we recommend allowing your bird to explore your home for at least four hours each day.

Image Credit: sandid, Pixabay

Where to Adopt or Buy a Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo

We recommend checking with all animal shelters in your area to see if any have a yellow-tailed black cockatoo that you can adopt. Many people give up these birds because they live in apartments and didn’t realize ahead of time that these birds are so loud. Adoption can save you hundreds of dollars on the cost of these rare birds, and most will already have their shots, which will save you both time and money.

You can also check with your local pet stores and bird enthusiasts to see if there are any breeders available. You can also look online at places like Exotic Animals For Sale and other outlets to find one. However, be prepared. These rare birds can often cost more than $10,000.divider-bird

Conclusion

The yellow-tailed black cockatoo can make a great pet for an experienced bird lover with plenty of space for a large habitat. If you have an old barn, garage, or even a large shed, you can give the bird extra space without keeping it in your home, where the loud screeches will grate on your family members’ nerves. We highly recommend any potential owners seriously consider the noise it makes and its impact on everyone involved because taking a $10,000 bird to the animal shelter is not something any of us want. However, once you overcome the hurdles, the yellow-tailed black cockatoo makes a great pet that often lives more than 40 years.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide and found it helpful in answering your questions. If we have helped convince you to get one of these birds for your home, please share this guide to the yellow-tailed black cockatoo on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image Credit: Imogen Warren, Shutterstock

Ed Malaker

Ed Malaker is a veteran writer who has contributed to a wide range of blogs that cover tools, pets, guitars, fitness, and computer programming. When he’s not writing, Ed is usually performing DIY projects around the house or working in the garden. He’s also a musician and spends a lot of time helping people fix their guitars and composing music for independent films.