About the Glossy Black Conservancy

Number of Glossy Black-Cockatoos reported through the online sightings portal since it went live in 2010
Number of birds seen during the annual Birding Days since 2010
Number of volunteers participating in the annual Birding Days since they began
The number of research / community projects the GBC supported in 2017
Age a Male Glossy Black-Cockatoo loses the bars in its tail
The number of free public training workshops offered in 2017 to identify Glossy Black-Cockatoos

Partnering with government agencies, private enterprise, researchers and the wider community to increase awareness, protection and conservation of the Glossy Black-Cockatoo across south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales.

The Glossy Black Conservancy

The Glossy Black Conservancy was officially formed in 2005, an initiative led by Biodiversity Assessment and Management Pty Ltd (BAAM) with support from Brisbane City Council, Redland Shire Council and Consolidated Rutile Ltd. Since its formation, the Glossy Black Conservancy has attracted additional Partners in local government departments, private conservation agencies and academia throughout south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales. Support continues to grow. Government agencies, private sectors and the community are stakeholders that the Conservancy wishes to collaborate with in order to conserve the Glossy Black-Cockatoo across the region.

Source: Rebecca Citroni

Aims and Goals

The specific aims of the Conservancy outlined in 2006 were to:

Coordinate the assessment of Glossy Black-Cockatoo resources across local government areas in south-east Queensland.


Engage with the community to assist in record collection.


Manage a central database of Glossy Black-Cockatoo records which can be accessed by government agencies.


Continue research aimed at increasing current knowledge of the species’ use of pioneer vegetation, fidelity to individual feed trees, requirement for nesting hollows and diurnal and seasonal range, with a priority to map vital resources for Glossy Black-Cockatoo in south-east Queensland.


Develop a Regional Management Plan for Glossy Black-Cockatoo (see the conservation guidelines developed in 2010 here).

Our Partners

By submitting your sightings, you are helping the Glossy Black-Cockatoo by providing critical information about its distribution, which will assist the long-term management of the species in the region.

Glossy Black Conservancy Friends

If you wish to know more about the Conservancy, have any questions about Glossy Black-Cockatoos and upcoming activities, or wish to become a friend or partner of the Glossy Black Conservancy and support our conservation efforts, contact us now.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Glossy Black-Cockatoo glossy and black?
No, not particularly. The common name is a bit of a misnomer as adult male Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo are actually more characteristic of this description. The Glossy Black-Cockatoo has a more dusty brown colouration but in sunlight this can have a glossy sheen to it. The females also have their distinctive yellow patches of feathers on the head that set them apart from the males. For more detailed information on the comparative features of the black-cockatoo in general see our identification section
Why is this species so special?
Like so many other species in Australia, the Glossy Black-Cockatoo is regionally threatened. However, we know a fair amount about the bird and with more detailed knowledge we can contribute to better conservation strategies for the species. The southeast QLD and north-eastern NSW region is also regarded as being a bit of a hotspot for the species but is also an area that is undergoing rapid development. By championing the conservation of the Glossy Black-Cockatoo our efforts might also lead to the protection of habitats that also support other threatened species.
What happens to the records I submit on-line?
The on-line reporting tool provides an opportunity for the general public (bird enthusiasts and non-birders alike) to participate in an ongoing ‘citizen science’ project. The records that are submitted are captured in the Conservancy database that now exceeds over 5000 records. These records are immediately available to Conservancy partners (many of them local councils responsible for making conservation and development planning decisions), for use in developing strategic conservation plans, identifying critical habitats, while also providing the foundations for further scientific research. Most recently these records have been used by regional natural resource management agencies in an effort to develop an essential habitat map for the species.
Why hasn't anybody contacted me about my report?
At this point in time it is not possible for the Conservancy to contact each and every person who submits records via the website as they do not currently have the capacity to do so. We have been overwhelmed with the success of the reporting tool and have received over 300 records in the past 10 months alone. We are looking at improving on this in the near future and hope that we will be able to have a system in place that enables us to liaise directly with our cockatoo observers. Of course if you are a regular observer and we know that the cockatoo you are reporting are dinkum Glossy Black-Cocaktoo we will verify your reports without making contact with you (unless of course we want more specific details). If you would like to assist us in this ‘verification’ process please feel free to include more specific detail in your submission about why you feel your sighting was a Glossy Black-Cockatoo (and not one of the other black-cockatoo, or some other confusing ‘black’ bird). Alternatively send us a photo of the bird via email and we can verify the record from this.
Who do I contact in order to take part in the Birding Day?
This depends on where you live, or where you plan on assisting in the Birding Day activities. There are regional coordinators who compile a database of all volunteers each year and these coordinators are listed on the Birding Day page, along with other Birding Day information. If you are eager to participate in the Birding Day activities please contact one of these coordinators who will then pass on additional information about the survey to you.
Can Glossy Black-Cockatoo eat anything besides she-oaks?
The short answer to this question is, yes they can. Glossy Black-Cockatoo have the ability to eat other foods and in captivity eat a variety of other cage birds seeds and fruit mixtures, but even in these captive situations owners also supplement this diet with kernels from she-oaks trees. In the wild it is uncommon for the Glossy Black-Cockatoo to feed on other sources of food given that they have developed a highly specialised monophagous (one source of food) habit. Of course they may ingest small insects incidentally when foraging through she-oak cones but it is unlikely that the birds are selecting for these food items. There are anecdotal reports that Glossy Black-Cockatoo have been observed feeding on seeds of species such as Acacia, Hakea, Angophora and Eucalyptus. However, some reports may be questionable as Glossy Black-Cockatoo are known to fly from feeding trees to other roost sites when processing cones, giving the impression that they might be feeding in their roost tree.
What are the specifications for building a nest box?
Nest boxes are used to improve the performance of Glossy Black-Cockatoo in other areas of Australia (e.g. Kangaroo Island). However, the use of nest boxes cannot be done indiscriminantly and careful thought needs to be given to a number of issues. For example, how many natural hollows are available in nearby woodlands? Can the nest box be erected where this will be accessible to enable regular monitoring to see which species might use it? What are the chances of other more common species (e.g. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Galah) using the nest box instead of Glossy Black-Cockatoo? Is the nest box to be erected in an areas where Glossy Black-Cockatoo have previously been known to nest but now cannot since natural hollow-bearing trees have been removed? These are just a number of factors to bear in mind when considering whether to erect nest boxes (not just for Glossy Black-Cockatoo) but for many other species as well. Having said that, there are a number of guidelines for nest boxes in published books (see “Nest boxes for wildlife, a practical guide” by Alan and Stacey Franks).
What can I do to help the Glossy Black-Cockatoo?
There are a number of ways that members of the public can become involved in conservation efforts to save the Glossy Black-Cockatoo. These include participating in regional Birding Days, undertaking regular monitoring of sites known to be frequented by the birds. Reporting each and every sighting of the Glossy Black-Cockatoo using our online reporting system to ensure that we are able to build up a comprehensive database on the timing, frequency and ongoing use of certain habitats. Raise awareness in your local community by spreading the word about the Glossy Black-Cockatoo amongst friends and getting them involved as well. In this way we can increase the number of areas being monitored to improve the quality and resolution of the sightings information. Retain as much natural habitat on your property as possible and encourage plantings of feed trees to provide ongoing resources for the birds in your area. Monitor other possible feeding locations (stands of she-oaks) to find out if Glossy Black-Cockatoo are using these areas. Documenting evidence of these birds feeding in areas might just save these habitats from development.
How long do Glossy Black-Cockatoo live for?
Like many other cockatoo and parrot species, Glossy Black-Cockatoo are a relatively long-lived. Precise estimates of how long the birds live are hard to come by but it is expected that they could live for more than 15 years and potentially even more than 30 years. Birds in captivity may live longer than those in the wild due to the reduced pressures facing these individuals (e.g. predation, food scarcity etc.).
What is a she-oak or casuarina?
She-oaks and Casuarina are trees of the scientific Family Casuarinaceae and are native to Australia. There are a number of species in this order and this varies from region to region within some species dominating in some areas but being absent in others. The Family includes members of only two Genera (the scientific name of all living species are classified using a binomial system developed by Carl Linnaeus and this includes a Genus name and a Species name), those being Allocasuarina and Casuarina. The trees are readily dinstinguished from other trees by having wiry segmented branchlets that are easily confused with leaves (the leaves are actually very small and are found where each branchlet segment joins another). For an overview of the Family Casuarinaceae visit the resources on PlantNet , while you can also obtain further information about the feed trees in the north-eastern NSW and southeast QLD region here.