Gang-gang Cockatoo Click to enlarge image
Gang-gang Cockatoo Image: Amy Jo
© Amy Jo

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    fimbriatum
    Genus
    Callocephalon
    Family
    Cacatuidae
    Order
    Psittaciformes
    Class
    Aves
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    32-37cm; around 250g

Identification

The Gang-gang Cockatoo is a small, overall dark grey cockatoo, with dull white edges on the wings and most of the body, with a short, square tail. The adult male has a distinctive bright red “helmet” and filamentous curled crest. The adult female has a dark grey head, but does have yellow-orange barring on the breast and belly feathers. Young birds appear similar to the adult female. Young males differ by having a red crown and forehead and a shorter, less twisted red crest.

Habitat

The Gang-gang Cockatoo can be found in eucalypt woodland forests of south-eastern Australia. It is a seasonal altitudinal migrant where it moves from mountain forests at higher altitudes to forests at lower altitudes and coastal areas during Autumn and Winter. Usually seen in small groups but can form large flocks when foraging.


Gang-gang Cockatoo, female
Gang-gang Cockatoo, female Image: Amy Jo
© Amy Jo

Distribution

South-east Australia. From eastern New South Wales, through to the Central Tablelands and South-Western Slopes around Wagga Wagga and Albury; along the New South Wales south coast. Widespread in the Gippsland region and Central Highlands in Victoria.



Feeding and diet

Eucalypt seeds, insect larvae, berries, nuts, fruits of introduced species Hawthorne and Cotoneaster. They normally forage in the tree canopy.

Communication

Birds will make a contact call that sounds creaky and raspy, a lot like a “rusty hinge”.

Breeding behaviours

Gang-gang Cockatoos are monogamous and form strong pair-bonds. They nest in a hollow in a trunk, or limb, of large eucalypt trees; usually near water. Both sexes will prepare the nest before laying by chewing on the sides of the hollow and use the wood chips and fragments to line the nest. Both sexes also share the incubation duties and care for the young.

  • Breeding season: Typically October through to January
  • Clutch size: Usually two white eggs, sometimes three.
  • Time to independence: Young birds will continue to be fed by the parents for up to 6 weeks once they have fledged.

Conservation status

The species is listed as Vulnerable in New South Wales.

References

Beruldsen, G. (2003). Australian Birds: Their Nests and Eggs. Self-published, Queensland.

Higgins, P.J. (ed) (1999). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds, Volume 4: Parrots to Dollarbird. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Menkhorst, P., Rogers, D., Clarke, R., Davies, J., Marsack, P., and Franklin, K. (2017). The Australian bird guide. CSIRO Publishing, Clayton South, Victoria.