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December 4, 2018 PetGuide
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Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo

 
  • Size: 26 inches
  • Lifespan: 50+ years
  • Bird Species: Cockatoo
  • Colors: Black, Yellow
  • Sounds: Vocal, Natural Calls, Moderately Noisy
  • Interaction: Social, Intelligent, Inquisitive, Fun, Calm, Docile
  • Comparable Breeds: Palm Cockatoo, Hyacinth Macaw

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One look at these magnificent, unique cockatoos and there’s no question why they’re a rising star in aviculture. With their friendly personalities and unusual appearance,  these parrots have no trouble capturing the heart of every new owner. Big, smart and goofy, the Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo is so much fun to hang out with. Although they require plenty of space to be happy, this doesn’t stop them from being rewarding pet parrots. Let’s learn more about one of South Australia’s most beloved birds.

Did you know that these cockatoos can feed like woodpeckers, clinging to trees as they search for insects?

Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo is found in a few smaller regions in southern Australia. These include parts of Queensland and New South Wales, but also Tasmania and Kangaroo Islands. Mainly present in coastal areas and further inland, they can be seen even at altitudes of up to 2000 meters. They thrive in Eucalyptus woodland, high rainforests, plantations, and interior heathland. Most of the time they are spotted in large flocks of 300 birds, making for an impressive and noisy sight.  After the introduction of Australia’s strict laws that protect wildlife, the populations of these cockatoos have been stable and not critically threatened.

The members of the small family of Calyptorhynchus – the Black Cockatoos, share a lot of similar physical traits. One of the features they share is a short, stubby crest that really looks like tousled hair. This crest is considerably smaller than what we see in most other breeds. Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo takes the top spot when it comes to their size, as the adults reach an average length of impressive 26 inches (67 centimeters). These robust birds will weigh around 2 pounds (900 grams) on average. Naturally, a bird of this size needs a lot of exercise. Lethargy and obesity are all very real threats, so a spacious aviary would be the best choice for this pet.  With some pet owners in areas where climate allows it, outdoor aviaries are becoming a popular choice. They give your pet cockatoo a natural experience, but a bird room will do just fine, as well.

The Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo is not as vocal as other members of its family. Their natural calls can be loud but are heard sparsely throughout the day. Caws and short screeches, as well as their size, can make these birds difficult to keep in an apartment setting. Keep in mind that a noise level is directly influenced by how happy your pet is. Hungry, lonesome, sick and neglected birds can be much noisier than they naturally are. Also, all black cockatoos, especially in outdoor aviaries, can be considerably vocal when the full moon is out. Another unique quirk of these unique birds!

The solid color of a parrot’s plumage doesn’t make them ugly or uninspiring. On the contrary, this unique appearance gives them an undeniable dose of elegance and charm. Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo is also one of the rare cockatoo breeds that display sexual dimorphism – meaning that the males and females are different. Both sexes are almost entirely black, with slight brown tinges throughout. Their cheeks have large circular patches of yellow color, giving them a blushing, cute look. The chest feathers are bordered with slight yellow edges. Males have a black beak, while for the females it is pale, horn colored. These gorgeous birds give us all the proof we need that a lack of vibrant and tropical colors can still make a parrot look out-of-this-world beautiful.

Pay attention to the color of the beak. It will help you identify males and females with ease.

Another unique trait of these large cockatoos is their diet. One of the rare breeds to feed primarily on grubs that live in wood, Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo will feed in a woodpecker stance, searching the trees for some tasty insects. As a pet, their diet should be based on a seed or pellet mix designed for cockatoos. This offers a good base with the important nutrients, and it can be easily added upon. Mealworms are one of the favorite treats and a source of important protein. Keep in mind that these large birds love and need baths. An occasional shower will benefit them and serve as a rewarding treat.

These are one of the long-lived cockatoo species, and they have a robust built that is the chief cause of their good health. You should count on a lifelong friendship that can span for more than 50 years. But remember, to ensure a lengthy, healthy life, you need to provide good care and conditions. Exercise and attention are mandatory, as well as a balanced diet. To minimize the risk of obesity and ensure a well-adapted parrot, you should strongly consider keeping your Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo pet in a spacious aviary or a bird room. This gives them the freedom they need and deserve.

Outdoor aviaries are a popular choice for these cockatoos. They ensure plenty of space and a life close to that in the wild.

The down-to-earth, laid-back behavior of the Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo is very different from the highly energetic behavior that we’re used to from other cockatoos. They can tolerate other parrots in their vicinity, but when the breeding season comes they will require a space of their own. It is a known fact that these large parrots are very intelligent. This means that your Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo will use every chance to explore the house and investigate any new thing in their surroundings. Their price on the pet market might be sky high, but there’s no doubt that the rare and amazing Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo is absolutely worth it.

Photo credit: sompreaw/Shutterstock; Wang LiQiang/Shutterstock; Daniel Gangur/Shutterstock


Comparable Breeds

Go to Palm Cockatoo

Palm Cockatoo

  • Size: 24 inches
  • Lifespan: 50-90 years
  • Bird Species: Cockatoo
  • Colors: Black with red cheeks
  • Sounds: Vocal, Loud, Mimicking
  • Interaction: Affectionate, Intelligent, Playful, Territorial, Temperamental
  • Comparable Breeds: Eclectus Parrot, Hawk-Headed Parrot
Go to Hyacinth Macaw

Hyacinth Macaw

  • Size: up to 3.3 feet
  • Lifespan: 50-60+ years
  • Bird Species: Parrot; Macaw
  • Colors: Cobalt Blue; yellow details
  • Sounds: Vocal, Mimicking, Talkative
  • Interaction: Social, Kind, Affectionate, Playful
  • Comparable Breeds: Blue Headed Parrot, Blue and Gold Macaw