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Black palm cockatoo

Black Palm Cockatoo

Black palm cockatoo are the only cockatoos that display entirely dark plumage. They are also among the largest parrots although their size and wingspan vary greatly between subspecies. (Only the hyacinth macaw is larger).

In adults, the head is covered by an extraordinary erectile crest formed by several strands tilted backward. The strongly curved upper mandible is much larger in males than in females.

The red tongue, with a black tip, is visible over almost its entire length, the two mandibles being disjointed. cheeks are covered with bare skin, which varies in color from white to burgundy red.

The intensity of the color varies according to the state of health and the environment of the bird. The orbital ring is grey, and the iris is brown.

The shiny back is covered with a powdery down which makes it lose part of its shine and brings a gray shade that clashes with the rest of the dark plumage.

The female is almost similar in appearance but she is smaller and her upper mandible is considerably smaller. Immatures have an upper mandible with a pale culmen. The feathers of their lower parts are edged in pale yellow. The orbital ring is white.

Black cockatoo sound

Black palm cockatoo are noisy forest birds. They are excellent imitators, reproducing the cry of other animals and certain nature sounds.

A little before dawn, the cockatoos begin to call out to each other in the waning darkness. This song makes it possible to organize the gathering of groups. They also give a series of “keer-eeow” hisses.

Palm cockatoo Habitat

Black cockatoos are fairly common birds, albeit living in sparse and dispersed populations in subtropical rainforests, gallery forests, mature secondary forests, and thick savanna woodlands.

They are preferably found at the edge of wooded areas, where species are suitable for their mode of feeding and nesting.

Black palm cockatoo are endemic to northern Australia and New Guinea. Four species are officially recognized: Probosciger aterrimus aterrimus, which lives in the Indonesian part of Papua, on the islands Misool, Arus, and in other islands of West Papua.

Pa MacGillivray, lives in the Cape York Peninsula, in northern Queensland, and on the southern coast of New Guinea.

Pa goliath is present in the islands of West Papua except for Misool as well as in the peninsula of Vogelkop and the east of Irian Jaya. Pa stenolophus is present along the entire northern coast of New Guinea.

Cockatoo behavior

This bird does not form broad flocks. He prefers to stay in pairs or in small groups not exceeding six units. However, flocks of up to 30 individuals are seen at feeding sites.

The black cockatoo roosts solitarily, choosing high leafless branches and only beginning its activity well after sunrise. It can, however, take flight during calm moonlit nights.

Shortly after the morning callbacks, the day’s activities begin with a long series of rituals in which the birds show off their greetings, their erect crests, and their outstretched wings.

Males engage in spectacular territorial displays, turning their facial patches red, uttering loud repetitive cries, and striking hollow trunks with a stone or large seed held in the left leg to produce a loud hammering sound.

Breeding pairs remain within their territory while juveniles and non-breeders roam beyond domain boundaries.

Black cockatoos are mainly arboreal but they do not disdain coming ashore to pick fallen fruit. They sometimes dig the ground with their beak to extract minerals.

Cockatoos are active in harvesting small splinters of wood which they pile layer upon layer to form a thick platform at the bottom of the nest. Dry leaves and shreds of bark left at the base of a tree are obvious signs of intense nesting activity.


The heavy, elaborate flight is a series of slow wingbeats and glides. The wings curved downwards and the head lowered against the chest give it a very particular silhouette.

Black cockatoo Diet

Black cockatoos feed on seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, and buds. Their diet is mostly vegetarian, but they also consume insects in the adult and larval state .

In the Cape York Peninsula, Black palm cockatoo ingest the fruits of the Pandanus and the nonda palm.

Cockatoo nesting

Black cockatoos are incapable of digging holes in trees, so they must use existing natural cavities.

Their large size and tail length force them to find particularly large holes in old trees that are sometimes over 100 years old.

The nesting site is located at a great height and the cavity has a diameter of 25 to 60 centimeters for a depth which is often around one meter.

To take possession of such a cavity, competition with other birds, marsupials, reptilesand even bees, is sometimes rough.

palm cockatoos fill their nest with various plant materials such as small branches of eucalyptus, bamboo, acacia or willow. They maintain territories that have several favorable nesting sites.

At the beginning of the breeding season, exploration flights to visit these different sites are increasingly numerous. The same nests are reused year after year.

The nesting period depends a lot on the climate, but it usually takes place during the months from August to January.

Cockatoo mating behavior

During the courtship that precedes mating , the males approach their mate, wings half-spread, head held high, crest feathers ruffled, and proceed in a series of greetings.

At the same time, they emit powerful whistles. Females lay a single egg which both parents incubate for 30-33 days. They take a preponderant part in the incubation while the males take care more particularly of the provisioning of the brood .

The chick is born naked, without any down . Before it has acquired a plumage that allows it to maintain a sufficient body temperature, it is warmed up .born by his mother.

When he has finally put on his plumage, the female can help her partner in the search for food for the young.

The latter does not leave the nest until it has reached the age of 100 to 110 days, which constitutes one of the longest periods of stay in the nest with regard to any species of parrot.

After leaving the nest, the chick is still not able to fly. He is still fed by his parents for an additional 6 weeks.

The young remains in the company of his ancestors until the beginning of the following season, when he is driven out of the family territory.
Black cockatoos reach sexual maturity around 6 to 7 years of age.

Black palm cockatoo pet

SOURCE: Jawnie Payne

Black palm cockatoo price

The black palm parrot can cost between 1,000$ and 2,000$. It is recommended that you only buy individuals that are at least 3 months old and have been socialized.

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Black palm cockatoo