Carnabys Black Cockatoo

Carnaby’s Cockatoo

The gregarious Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos was once widespread across the West Australian Wheatbelt. It is difficult to know how many cockatoos are left, but it is known that their populations have declined by over 50% in the past 45 years, and that they no longer breed in up to a third of their former breeding sites.

Although these birds may appear common, clearing of native vegetation and clashes with urban development have placed these iconic birds in serious trouble and they may disappear from our skies in less than a decade.  The cockatoos form lifelong pairs and live for 40-50 years in the wild. A large proportion of the remaining population now is past breeding age. When these older birds die, there will be very few younger birds to take their place.

Unlike its famous cockatoo cousins, the Carnaby’s cockatoo is diminishing in numbers and needs our help!

Species: Carnaby’s Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris)
Location: Endemic to south-western Australia
Status: Endangered
Threats: Loss of habitat for breeding and feeding are the primary cause of the species decline
Our work: monitoring, habitat restoration and community education

Taking Action to conserve Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo

Conservation Volunteers Australia as part of its Wild Futures Program is taking action by mobilising volunteers, local communities, government and business partners to protect and enhance Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo recovery by;

  • Creating habitat, biolinks and restoring degraded areas for breeding and food.
  • Monitoring habitat and Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo health and population size
  • Increasing awareness of the threats faced by the Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo

Ultimately our goal is to ensure Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo continue to survive and flourish in the wild.
Through the Wild Futures program, Conservation Volunteers is working with the Kaarakin Sanctuary in Perth and the Black-cockatoo Preservation Society to rehabilitate injured Carnaby’s cockatoo, establish foraging grounds and reinstate vital food plants.

Description and Distribution

Carnaby Wandi Reserve WA - Graham Fudge

Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo – an ageing population

Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo is endemic to south -western Australia, extending from the Murchison River to Esperance, and inland to Coroow, Kellerberrin and Lake Cronion.  Also known as the Large Black Cockatoo, or simply Carnaby’s Cockatoo, the adult male has a pink coloured ring around the eye, and off-white cheek patches, while the female has a dark eye-ring and bright white cheek patches. Their distinctive calls are often heard around Perth and the Swan Coastal Plain.

Most breeding occurs typically in the Wheatbelt and Great Southern regions. For nesting, Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos require eucalypt woodland, comprising principally of salmon gum or wandoo.  Their food is found in shrubland, or kwongan heath. The cockatoos require a close association between breeding and feeding sites during the breeding season. If these two very different habitats are not within a reasonable distance of each other, breeding attempts fail. After breeding, the cockatoos move to higher rainfall areas along the coast in search of food sources such as banksia and hakea heathlands feeding on the seeds of a variety of native and introduced plant species and on insect larvae.

Help save the Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo

You can be a part of this important recovery effort by volunteering to help the Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo in Western Australia or donating to our Wild Futures program to ensure that these birds have a Wild Future.

We make it easy for people to make a difference and help secure Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo in the wild.


Would you like to give the Carnaby’s Cockatoo a wild future? You can do so by donating through our secure online system.


By volunteering on one of our field projects, you can make a practical contribution and help give the Carnaby’s Cockatoo a wild future.

Carnaby's cockatoo in a tree

Curious and inquisitive – Carnaby’s Cockatoo needs your help


Our work to help save the Carnaby’s Cockatoo is supported by the following organisations and individuals: Black Cockatoo Preservation Society Australia Inc., Birdlife Australia

Find out more about becoming a partner

Further Information

Birds Australia (WA) is leading a recovery program that assists rural communities in the management of breeding populations of Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo and implementing suitable recovery actions. For more information on how you can help the Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo, see Birds Australia’s Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo Recovery Project