Unusual visitor - a Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

We were recently delighted to have a visit from a very unique bird at Vetwest Whitfords. A caring member of the public had noticed a curious black cockatoo attempting to enter her house. The bird was particularly friendly, tapping on the window and catching her attention.  Unsure whether the inquisitive cockatoo was ill or just friendly, she thought it best to carefully capture the bird and bring it in to see us.

To our amazement this was no ordinary cockatoo, it was a Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo, a threatened species and certainly something we don't get to see too often. Also this particular bird had an identification band which indicated it was either being observed under a surveillance program or could be owned by a wildlife carer. Once our team established the Cockatoo was in no immediate danger we contacted the Department of Environment and Conservation (formerly CALM), to establish the best licensed wildlife carer to contact. They put us in touch with the Black Cockatoo Rescue Group who were then able to establish that this particular bird had an owner.  Only licensed wildlife carers have permission to keep Black Cockatoo's and this is most often permitted for breeding purposes.  

[legacy_image:path=files/images/red-tailed-cockatoo.jpg|title=|description=|align=right|width=162|height=300]Over the next few days we were able to establish that our visiting Cockatoo was eleven years old and had been missing for five days.  In her earlier days, she had been a breeding cockatoo and her owner was ecstatic to have her returned. 

In Western Australia, Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos are found in the south west, northern wheatbelt, Murchison, Pilbara and the Kimberley. They are large black birds with a black crest and large bill, and make a rolling, loud 'karee' or 'krar-raak'call. Males feature large red to orange panels on their tail whilst females feature  yellow to orange to red panels across their tail. 

There are three subspecies of the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo, all of which are protected under provisions of the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950. It is illegal to destroy these birds and there are significant fines for doing so. 

Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos can be quite aggressive, something we would have expected to see in our visitor given her recent journey. However in this instance we had to suspect illness or that she was tame and may have had an owner.  If you ever find a similar cockatoo, either contact us or you can contact the 24 hour WILDCARE hotline on 9474 9055 who will give you further care information including who you can contact for help or assistance. 

For more information on Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos download Fauna Note No. 6 from the Department of Environment and Conservation here.

Tip - select the Download button just underneath the table of information 

Pet type(s): 
Life stage(s): 
Adult

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