Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua Galerita)
Probably Australia's most well-known cockatoo, the Sulphur-crested is also highly prized worldwide as a pet and aviary species. Individual birds may often build up an impressive, even colorful repertoire of words and sentences.
These cockatoos are also known for their longevity. It is not uncommon for the family pet Sulphur-crested Cockatoo to be handed down to a family member, having outlived its owner. In open country wild birds may congregate in their hundreds. Although 'an impressive sight', it is also one that's often dreaded by grain farmers, as many crop has been partially destroyed by these strong-billed parrots. Compensating for this crop destruction, however, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos will assist farmers by feeding upon the seeds of many nuisance weeds. A variety of nuts, roots and berries are also consumed.
Gang-gang Cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum)
Once familiar winter residents of some of Australia's colder southern suburbs, Gang-gangs now prefer to remain amidst the mountainous regions of their distribution. They are still sighted around the suburbs at certain times of year, feeding from various fruiting trees and shrubs.
Early settlers could approach within touching distance of these cockatoos as they intently gleaned nuts and berries from their favored food trees. Only males bear the red plumage on the head, while the female is entirely grey. Their colors are quite unique amongst Australian Cockatoos, most of which are either predominantly white or black.
Hollows high up in old eucalypts provide sites for nesting, which takes place between October and January.
Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo (Calytorhynchus banksii)
The most widely distributed of the cockatoos, this impressive bird, with its brilliant markings, is a feature of northern Australia where flocks of up to 200 may congregate.
Highly nomadic throughout drier inland pastoral regions, seeds of native trees and introduced pastures constitute their primary diet.
The plumage of the male is completely black apart from the tail feathers which bear a vibrant red band. Females are speckled with yellow across their head and shoulders, and possess an orange-red, variegated tail band.
Always entering the hollow tail first, they will nest in any tree that has a hollow of suitable size. The inside hollow is chewed to produce a layer of wood dust onto which a single egg is laid.
Pink Cockatoo (Cacatua leadbeateri)
Another name of this species is 'Major Mitchell' after Sir Thomas Mitchell, an early explorer who marveled at the huge flocks he encountered on his journey through the N.S.W. interior in 1835.
The subtle tonings of this beautiful bird render it a popular aviary species, hence making it a prime target for the illegal bird trade. Curiously, they do not learn to talk and often do not develop a rapport with humans.
During the breeding season, incubation of the egg is carried out by both parents – the male day and the female during the night.
These larger members of the parrot family require old trees with hollows of suitable size for breeding and shelter. For the continued survival of these distinctive birds, stands of old growth forests must be retained and preserved.