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Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus latirostris
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This species is listed as Endangered as it is assumed that the extensive loss of feeding and breeding habitat has resulted in a very rapid, and continuing, decline over three generations (43 years).

Taxonomic source(s)
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 1994. The taxonomy and species of birds of Australia and its territories. Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union, Melbourne.
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

54-56 cm. Large, black cockatoo. Adult male has large black bill, erectile crest, white patch on ear-coverts and white panels in tail. Female similar except patch on ear-coverts slightly bigger and yellowish white and bill is bone-coloured rather than black or greyish black. Juvenile similar to adult female. Similar spp. May be confused with Long-billed Black-cockatoo C. baudinii, but calls slightly different and tip of upper mandible much shorter, and appears broader when seen head-on, although good views are necessary. Distinguished from Red-tailed Black-cockatoo C. banksii by white panels in tail. Voice Generally noisy with several calls, loudest and most frequent is wailing wy-lah.(C. baudinii similar but sightly 'clipped'). Hints Formerly widespread in the Western Australian wheatbelt and on Swan Coastal Plain. Also occurs in forested areas, overlapping in distribution with C. baudinii. Usually seen in small groups, sometimes large flocks.

Distribution and population
Calyptorhynchus latirostris is endemic to south-western Australia. Between the 1970s and 1990s, the species disappeared from over one third of its range (Saunders 1990), with both local extinctions and reduced density in occupied areas, although it has recently been expanding into partially cleared forest habitat along the western fringe of its former range. Its current range covers a large area from Kalbarri southeast to Esperance (DEC, Western Australia 2007b). Most breeding occurs between Three Springs and the Stirling Range and areas to the west (Cataby to Tone Rover) (DEC, Western Australia 2007b). The total population is estimated at c.40,000 individuals (DEC, Western Australia 2007b), now divided into four subpopulations: northern wheatbelt, upper southern wheatbelt, south-eastern wheatbelt and Esperance coast (DEC, Western Australia 2007b). Surveys carried out in the Swan region show that the number of roosting birds declined of 37% between 2010 and 2011 (Kabat et al. 2012). The number of roosts with 151-500 cockatoos reduced by 42% and no roosts had more than 500 birds. There was a 66% increase in the number of roosts that had 150 or fewer birds. Statistical modelling suggests that the total population for the Swan Region in now between 5,177 and 8,629 birds. Initial trends based on roost counts suggest that declines are continuing at a similar rate to historical range contractions, i.e. >50% in 3 generations (Garnett et al. 2011).

Population justification
The total population is estimated to number c.40,000 individuals.

Trend justification
Direct counts, numbers of breeding females, a decrease in the area of occupancy and decline in the quality of habitat indicate that this species's abundance has at least halved over the last three generations, and that this decline is likely to continue (Garnett and Crowley 2000).

It forages in woodland, shrubland and heathland, usually breeding in areas receiving 350-700 mm of annual rainfall. Flocks of non-breeding birds then move to coastal areas, where pine plantations have become important feeding and roosting sites since the 1930s (DEC, Western Australia 2007b). It eats seeds of Hakea, Grevillea, Banksia, Allocasuarina, Eucalyptus, and Dryandra, but also feeds on the seeds of weeds and exotic pines, insect larvae and nectar (Saunders 1982, 1990, DEC, Western Australia 2007b). The species has also been recorded damaging persimmon and nut crops and the shoots of trees in orchards (DEC, Western Australia 2007b). Its breeding success is dependent on the presence of heathland feeding areas within 12 km of its nesting habitat (DEC, Western Australia 2007b). It nests in hollows in large eucalypts, primarily salmon gum E. salmonophloia and wandoo E. wandoo. It is also now frequently found in marri Corymbia calophylla, jarrah E. marginata and karri E. diversicolor forests (DEC, Western Australia 2007b). It is a long-lived species; females appear not breed until they are at least four years old (Saunders 1982, 1986, Saunders and Ingram 1998), and the oldest known female was at least 19 in 1989 (Saunders and Ingram 1998). Observations suggest that pairs remain together until the death of one of the partners (Saunders 1982). The eggs are usually laid between late July and late September (Saunders 1990), but laying may continue into October or November (Saunders and Ingram 1998). Less than half of the nest hollows available in an area of breeding habitat may remain unoccupied due to aggressive interactions between females during the selection and preparation of hollows (Saunders 1982). It is known that some females return to the same nest hollows in successive years (Saunders 1982, 1990). The species usually lays two eggs, although pairs rarely fledge two young, the second to hatch usually dying within 48 hours (Saunders 1982). The incubation period for four nests was found to be 28-29 days (Saunders 1982). Juveniles remain with their parents until they return to the breeding area at the start of the following season, and in some cases may associate with their parents for longer (Saunders 1982). This behaviour may be linked with the acquisition of knowledge and skills required for foraging (Saunders 1982).

Since the 1950s, most feeding habitat for breeding birds has been cleared for agriculture. Remnants are fragmented, threatened by rising soil salinity and weed invasion, and are often so far from nesting areas that growth rate and survival of nestlings are affected and eventually breeding ceases altogether. Fires and the introduced plant pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi have also destroyed large tracts of suitable habitat. Breeding habitat has also been extensively cleared and, for at least 60 years, there has been little regeneration of nest trees because of grazing by sheep and rabbits. In the district of Coomallo Creek, between 1969 and 1982, a decrease in the percentage cover of native vegetation from 67% to 34% coincided with a decrease in the breeding population of the species by one third (Saunders 1986). As habitat is cleared, the species is likely to become more susceptible to human-related threats such as collisions with cars and shooting (Saunders 1982). Many patches of native habitat are situated near human settlements and traversed by roads and railway lines (Saunders 1990), and birds may become increasingly reliant on commercial crops (Saunders 1982). As habitat becomes patchy, local populations may fail to locate suitable feeding areas (Saunders 1990). The species's long pair bonds and high breeding-site fidelity may mean that birds do not disperse following disturbance and may persist at the same breeding sites until all habitat in an area is cleared or the local population dies out (Saunders 1982). Clearing for agriculture in the wheatbelt has left little kwongan vegetation, which the species requires for feeding, adjacent to the woodland patches in which it nests (Saunders and Ingram 1998). Nest-hollow availability, though not currently limiting, is likely to become so in the future with feral bees and other cockatoo species competing successfully for hollows. The species may be affected by nest hollow competition by the Galah Cacatua roseicapila (Saunders 1982, Saunders 1990). This species may damage unguarded eggs, and such interference caused the failure of 7% of recorded nesting attempts in one area during the 1970s (Saunders 1990). Much of the feeding habitat of non-breeding birds has been cleared, and many birds from the northern wheatbelt now seasonally feed largely on pines. These pines have now reached maturity, and once they are harvested this will result in a possible food shortage. Nest-robbing for domestic trade has declined, but damage to nest hollows occurs when birds are taken for illegal export. In October 2009 an unknown disease killed up to 23 females in a single breeding colony at Koobabbie (Garnett et al. 2011). A heatwave in January 2010 is known to have killed flocks of 63 and 145 birds near Hopetoun and 57 birds were killed and 24 injured by a hailstorm in March 2010 (Saunders et al. 2011).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. BirdLife Australia (formerly Birds Australia), with the support of the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), carries out annual roost surveys in the Perth region (kabat et al. 2012). In 2002, a Recovery Plan was put in place by the Department of Environment and Conservation (Cale 2003). A revised recovery plan is in the final stages of completion. BirdLife Australia (formerly Birds Australia) instigated its Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo Recovery Project in 2000 (Garnett et al. 2011). The species is protected from hunting and persecution by law (DEC, Western Australia 2007b). Management actions completed or under way include the identification and protection of significant breeding areas, particularly stands of E. salmonophloia, protection and maintenance of known nests, re-establishment of feeding habitat, notably with Banksia, cooperation between conservation authorities and the avicultural industry, including improvement of husbandry techniques for keeping the species in captivity, management of captive-breeding stock and refinement of DNA fingerprinting in order to identify the source of all captive birds, distinguish any subpopulations and determine any loss of genetic diversity within regions or subpopulations. A recovery plan has been prepared for the species (DEC, Western Australia 2007b). In 2007, the Government of Western Australia produced an information sheet with details of the species's status and non-lethal control methods for agriculturalists and orchardists, e.g. exclusion netting (DEC, Western Australia 2007b). Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation throughout its range. Quantify the level and extent of capture for trade. Continue restoration of habitat for breeding birds. Create native habitat corridors to link areas of native vegetation, especially in extensively cleared agricultural areas such as the Western Australian wheatbelt (Saunders 1990). Satisfy avicultural demand with a collaborative captive-breeding programme. Protect nesting trees and promote regeneration by exclusion of livestock and rabbits (DEC, Western Australia 2007b).

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Cale, B. 2003. Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo (Calptorhynchus latirostris) Recovery Plan 2002–2012. Western Australian Wildlife Management Program No. 36. Department of Conservation and Land Management Western Australia, Perth.

Chambers, L. E. 2008. Trends in timing of migration of south-western Australian birds and their relationship to climate. Emu 108(1): 1-14.

Department of Environment & Conservation, Government of Western Australia. 2007. Carnaby's Cockatoo.

Garnett, S. T.; Crowley, G. M. 2000. The action plan for Australian birds 2000. Environment Australia, Canberra.

Garnett, S.T., Szabo, J.K. and Dutson, G. 2011. The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2010. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.

Kabat, A. P., Scott, R., Kabat, T. J. and Barrett, G. 2012. 2011 Great Cocky Count: Population estimates and identification of roost sites for the Carnaby’s Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris). Report prepared by BirdLife Australia for the WA Department of Environment and Conservation.

Saunders, D. A. 1982. The breeding behaviour and biology of the short-billed form of the White-tailed Black Cockatoo. Ibis 124(4): 422-425.

Saunders, D. A. 1986. Breeding season, nesting success and nestling growth in Carnaby's Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus funereus latirostris over 16 years at Coomallo Creek, and a method for assessing the viability of populations in other areas. Australian Wildlife Research 13(2): 261-273.

Saunders, D. A. 1990. Problems of survival in an extensively cultivated landscape: the case of Carnaby's Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus funereus latirostris. Biological Conservation 54: 277-290.

Saunders, D. A., Mawson, P. and Dawson, R. 2011. The impact of two extreme weather events and other causes of death on Carnaby's Black Cockatoo: a promise of things to come for a threatened species? Pacific Conservation Biology 17(2): 141-148.

Saunders, D. A.; Ingram, J. A. 1998. Twenty-eight years of monitoring a breeding population of Carnaby's Cockatoo. Pacific Conservation Biology: 261-270.

Further web sources of information
Australian Govt - Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000 - Recovery Outline

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Garnett, S., McClellan, R., Taylor, J., Allinson, T & Symes, A.

Burbidge, A., Chapman, T., Mawson, P. & Saunders, D.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Calyptorhynchus latirostris. Downloaded from on 20/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 20/04/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Carnaby's black-cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris)

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Psittacidae (Parrots)
Species name author Carnaby, 1948
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 32,100 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species