Glossy Black-Cockatoo Care Sheet

Scientific Facts

Common NameGlossy Black-Cockatoo
Scientific NameCalyptorhynchus lathami
OriginSouth-eastern Queensland, eastern Australia, and eastern Victoria, and there are also sightings in the west part of Australia which is the Kangaroo Island in South Australia.
Habitatcasuarina stands in wet, open forest, and timbered watercourses. They often live in remnants of Allocasuarina patches that have tree hollows where they can also breed.
DietCasuarina tree where they strip off the seed pods with their strong bills to get the seeds and this usually takes place on the ground where there are littered cones. They also eat wood-boring larvae.
Sizeup to 50 cm (19.5 in) in length
Lifespan20-50 years

Physical Description

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The Glossy Black-Cockatoo is the smallest out of the five black-cockatoos. It has a brown-black upper body such as the head and neck as well as the underparts, with hints of red or orange-red tail panels that give an accent to the dull black body of the cockatoo. Its crest is petite and unattractive, with the bill is broad and bulbous. The adult female glossy black cockatoo has extensive yellow patches mostly on the head and neck part with tail panels tend to be more orange-red with black bars, but will become less vibrant and become redder as it ages. While the adult male glossy black cockatoos have a small number of yellow feathers on the head, and its tail panels are more of a bright red.

The juveniles look like the adult males, but they have a yellow-colored breast, and the one that makes them stand out is their yellow spots on the cheeks and sides of the head. The male and female glossy black cockatoo has physical aspects differences that make it easier for you which one you like. They have a simple appearance that gives them the peculiar charm

Where it is Seen?

The glossy black-cockatoos can be seen in south-eastern Queensland, eastern Australia, and eastern Victoria, and there are also sightings in the west part of Australia which is the Kangaroo Island in South Australia.


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The glossy black-cockatoos are highly linked with casuarina stands in wet, open forest, and timbered watercourses. They often live in remnants of Allocasuarina patches that have tree hollows where they can also breed.

Breeding and Reproduction

The glossy black-cockatoo is partners for life that maintains their bond all year round. It is the female cockatoo that prepares the nest in the hollows of large, old eucalyptus trees about 30 meters above the ground, whether alive or dead and has decayed debris where they can safely incubate the eggs. The females lay one egg, which will be incubated for about 30 days, and it is expected that the juvenile is ready the fly around 84-96 days. The females only leave the nest to help the male look for food when they hatch after a week. During the incubation period, the males are the ones who look for food to feed the females. The juveniles stay with their parents where they are fed and take good care of up to their 4th month.


Their main diet in the wild is from the casuarina tree, where they strip off the seed pods with their strong bills to get the seeds, and this usually takes place on the ground where there are littered cones. They also eat wood-boring larvae. Study shows that they ate quite selective to the choice of trees where they will eat. Aside from the casuarina trees, they also feed on acacias, anglophones, eucalypts, hakeas, and acacias. They are often seen feeding on a particular food in threes.

Size and Weight

The glossy black cockatoo is considered as the smallest member of the subfamily Calyptorhynchinae subfamily, where they only reach up to 50 cm (19.5 in) in length. The males and females have differences in their physical appearance, but they have the same length.


Their lifespan makes them a good companion parrots in captivity that range from 20-50 years with proper care and guidance.

Common Diseases/ Illnesses

Feather Picking and Self-mutilation

It is a behavioral problem wherein they hurt themselves when they are stressed, bored, and frustrated. These are the traits that they show if they are lonely, these types of birds are not used to living alone that is why to avoid this; you may need to take them in pairs or sacrifice your time at least 2 hours a day to play or train them. It would also be useful if you will place their cage in a place where they see people make them feel that they are still in a flock where they can socialize.

Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD)

It is characterized by feathers changing colors and is dropping slowly with a beak that is fragile that may break off easily, making it complicated to feed them because it may be distorted at an instance. The best way to deal with this disease is to make sure to give them healthy foods enriched with nutrients and always make their environment hygienic. Expect that your bird will not be cured through the use of an antibiotic or any medications since their immune system has already been attacked. This disease is common in the wild, so it is important that as you acquire a cockatoo from a pet shop or pet collector, you may still need to let your veterinarian screen them for PBFD.

Food poisoning/Ingesting toxins

Cockatoos have a quite sensitive digestive system where they are easily irritated by different kinds of food given to them, such as peanuts, grapes, avocados, alcohol, and other caffeinated products. These foods are considered toxic, that is why when they eat those kinds of food, they expect that they’ll have dizziness, liver disease, kidney problems, and heart failure. The different household cleaning chemicals also irritate them quickly that cause respiratory problems, so make sure not to use those near the bird or do not use those chemicals in cleaning their cage and the accessories.

Obesity and Lipomas

When the cockatoo is obese, it can trigger diseases such as heart problems and diabetes, which are fatal when not treated immediately. Avoid this problem by not overfeeding them and make sure to feed them in a certain feeding schedule every day. Aside from overfeeding, the lack of exercise is also another cause. There is a high possibility that your cockatoo will develop benign fatty tumors known as lipomas if they are obese, and this is solved through surgery only that can pose a danger to the cockatoo because there is no assurance if they will recover from it after the surgery or not.


This is sometimes caused by certain nutritional deficiencies such as calcium and Vitamin A, where the cockatoo experiences lameness and swelling of their feet, making them inactive. If not treated well, it can cause wounds or lesions on their skin that can be a breeding ground for bacteria that leads to other infections. They are not only restrained from moving, but they also have an inability to grasp their food. If this happens, make sure to place the men in a clean environment and assist them in eating healthy foods.

Preventing Illnesses

Seeing your pet sick is a hard thing because you do not have an idea about what they really feel. You can help them avoid getting sick by means of ensuring that they stay in a place where they are comfortable and clean. They are also susceptible to different kinds of illnesses if they do not have the right nutrition, so always give them healthy foods. As soon as you see that there is something wrong, do not hesitate to ask help from your veterinarian for the early detection of diseases.

Captive Breeding

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They are not a popular parrot pet because they are quite expensive, but they can easily be obtained from the wild because it is not listed under the endangered species. It is a good captive pet because they are easy to tame, but you need to have knowledge on how to take good care of parrots so that they can stay with you for a long time.

Availability-Where to Get One?

Glossy black-cockatoos are often seen in large aviaries for pet trades or for displays only. They are not commonly seen in some pet shops, but they are widely sold on the internet. It is advisable to make sure that you are buying from a reliable source to ensure that the bird that you are getting is healthy and has a pure breed.

How To Care Parrot as a Pet


This small cockatoo needs to stay in a cage that is not smaller than 24″ x 36″ x 48″. Even though they are quite small, it is still best to place them in an oversized cage where they can do a lot of activities to make them busy and preoccupied. Make use of a cage made from stainless steel or wrought iron to endure that it will last a lifetime and that it won’t break easily even though the cockatoo bites it using its strong beak.


In the wild, these cockatoos thrive on a varied diet. Cockatoos need a variety of fresh foods along with a good quality avian pellet based diet. Pellets can be up to 50 percent of the diet, and fresh foods (vegetables, fruits, grains, etc.) you prepare should make up the rest. Seeds and seed mixes should only be used as a limited treat item since they are high in fat. Nuts can also be used as a special treat. But the biggest part of it is the unique Casuarina trees and their peculiar cone fruits. Their large and robust beaks are specially adapted to break things apart. They also eat wood-boring grubs and fruit. If possible, include Casuarina seeds in their diet, but you can also base it on nuts, seeds, and fruits.


Glossy black-cockatoo loves to chew different kinds of sterilized bird toys because it is a form of exercise that can further strengthen their beak. You can give them Softwood toys, tree branches with no sharp edges, rope toys, vegetable-tanned leather, toy bells, cardboard, and you can also give them toys given to domesticated animals. They should be given both toys that they can pick up and those that can be hung.


These cockatoos species has a playful and friendly personality, for sure you can form a bond with them as long as you know how to deal with them properly. Give them their basic needs such as the need for food, shelter, and attention and you can be sure that it will grow healthily and happily

The Threat to their Population

There are different threats to their population, such as reduction of their habitat due to illegal loggers, climate change that causes forest fires, and other human activities that harm their population. Good thing they still have a stable population in the wild, and it is still advisable to adopt them and breed them in captivity.

FAQ Section

How do you attract glossy black cockatoo?

You can attract a glossy black cockatoo by planting their favorite tree, which is the casuarinas where they love to feed on its tasty seed. You can also create a birdbath into your garden where they can drink. You know that they are near to your place if you are now hearing distinctive calls.

What does it mean when you see a glossy black cockatoo?

It is said that a glossy black cockatoo symbolizes the power of spirit and soul strengthening. In some cultures, it is a cue to celebrate what they believe in, such as gods or spirits, when they see this bird.

Does seeing glossy black cockatoos mean rain?

The glossy black cockatoo’s calling is believed to be accompanied by rain because an indication of this is due to the sudden softening of the wood.

What is a glossy black-cockatoo called?

They are called this name due to their physical appearance that is mainly black in color.

Do glossy black-cockatoo talk?

They have the ability to utter and repeat words that they hear with proper training, but it takes dedication and patience to do so. If you are successful in teaching them, they can mimic a wide range of sounds.

Is a glossy black-cockatoo a good pet?

They are a good pet if they stay in a quite ideal environment. They are funny, affectionate, and is easy to get along with.

Is glossy black-cockatoo dangerous?

They can be dangerous when they are aggressive because of the painful bite that may cause injuries, so handle them properly.

Do glossy black-cockatoo cuddles?

These type of species has a big demand for attention from their owners. They are lively and affectionate when they are happy and most likely that they’ll create a bond with their owners.

How long can a glossy black-cockatoo be left alone?

You can leave them alone for at least 8-9 hours with food and water. Leaving them alone for a day without bonding with them is not advisable.

Are glossy black-cockatoo good pets for beginners?

They are not quite recommended for newbies because of the proper way of handling them because they can be spoiled easily.

Why does glossy black-cockatoo get angry?

They are territorial, especially males. They respond aggressively if they feel that there is an intruder or an unfamiliar face that visits them in their cage.

Why does glossy black-cockatoo bob their heads?

Head bobbing is a way for them to beg for attention and food. Head bobbing while they are swaying is a manifestation that they are happy.

Is glossy black-cockatoo high maintenance?

They are high maintenance in such a way that they need your attention every day. You must feed and give them water every day. As long as they are staying in an ideal environment, they are a hardy type of cockatoo.

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