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Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo

Redtail_Black_Cockatoo_FemaleAll About the Majestic Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo

Red-tailed black cockatoos are around 24 inches in length and sexually dimorphic. The male’s plumage is all black with a prominent black crest made up of elongated feathers from the forehead and crown. The bill is dark grey. The tail is also black with two lateral bright red panels. Females are black with yellow-orange stripes in the tail and chest, and yellow grading to red spots on the cheeks and wings. The bill is pale and horn-coloured. The underparts are barred with fine yellow over a black base. Male birds weigh between 1.5–2 lb, while females weigh slightly less at 1.25– 1.75 lb. In common with other cockatoos and parrots, red-tailed black cockatoos have zygodactyl feet, two toes facing forward and two backward, that allow them to grasp objects with one foot while standing on the other, for feeding and manipulation. Black cockatoos are almost exclusively left-footed (along with nearly all other cockatoos and most parrots).

Juvenile red-tailed black cockatoos resemble females until puberty, which occurs around four years of age, but have paler yellow barred underparts. As the birds reach maturity, males gradually replace their yellow tail feathers with red ones; the complete process takes around four years.

As with other cockatoos, the red-tailed black cockatoo can be very long-lived in captivity; in 1938, ornithologist Neville Cayley reported one over fifty years old at Taronga Zoo.

Another bird residing at London and Rotterdam Zoos was 45 years and 5 months of age when it died in 1979. Hand-raised birds can be bought for anywhere between $15,000 to $40,000 in the United States, where they are seldom seen in aviculture. The red-tailed black cockatoo is listed as vulnerable on the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act (1995).

Like many Australian cockatoos and parrots, the red-tailed black cockatoo is threatened by the thriving illegal trade in bird smuggling. High demand and high transit mortality mean that many more birds are taken from the wild than actually sold.

For a more complete bibliography and references please visit: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redtailed_black_cockatoo

 

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