Identification Charts

How to Identify a Glossy Black-Cockatoo

As three different species of black-cockatoo occur in south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales, the correct identification of a Glossy Black-Cockatoo is essential.

Below is a table and a call recording to help you correctly identify a Glossy Black-Cockatoo so that you can keep a look out in your community. Some of the descriptions have been taken out of Simpson and Day’s Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, 1993.

It is a good idea to take a bird field guide when you are out searching for Glossy Black-Cockatoos. If you are unable to identify the bird, take a picture and send it in to us for verification. Once you are confident you have made a correct identification, please submit your sightings. The Conservancy has also compiled a Fact Sheet to assist with field identification, and specifically sexing and aging individual birds.

Glossy Black-Cockatoos are less gregarious and quieter than their Yellow-tailed or Red-tailed relatives and generally travel in small groups of two or three. They are also the smallest of the three species, have red panels on their tail feathers and lack the prominent crests seen in other black-cockatoos.
Glossy Black-Cockatoo
Calyptorhynchus lathami

Source: Marge Eller
Smallest black-cockatoo 48cm
(Simpson and Day, 1993)
Males have a dull brownish tinge on the head and breast. Females have irregular yellow blotches on head and neck and tail panels have black bars. Juveniles can also have yellow blotches. Tail has red panels. No crest on head. Bulbous bill.Solitary or groups of 2-3
Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo
Calyptorhynchus banksii

Source: Birds QLD
(Simpson and Day, 1993)
Male has crest. Black with red tail panels. Females spotted and barred yellow, tail panels yellowish orange, with black bars.Large noisy groups
Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo
Calyptorhynchus funereus

Source: Bob Inglis
(Simpson and Day, 1993)
Yellow tail panels and cheek patchesLarge groups

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Identifying Black-Cockatoos | A guide by Birdlife Australia

Learn the differences between the Glossy Black-Cockatoo, the Gang-gang Cockatoo, the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo and the Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo in this handy summary from BirdLife Australia.