This is a scarce and unusual but fascinating parrot in aviculture with only the serious collectors owning these funny little cockatoos.
These beautiful parrots are a mainly grey parrot and a feather-duster crest. It is the smallest of the "black" cockatoos at a length of on 35 cm. The male is a slate grey with white scallops over the upper body excluding the tail, primary and secondary feathers. The wing coverts are lightly washed with green. The head and crest is a scarlet red and the crest is a loosely formed feather duster like crest. The bill is horn coloured, legs are grey, and the iris is dark brown to black. The female resembles the male but the head and crest is grey and the upper part is scalloped including the upper tail. The underside is grey broadly margined with yellowish green and orange. Chicks can be sexed in the nest as the male has red on the crest and forehead.
Range and Habitat
They inhabit mostly the south-eastern parts of Australia andTasmania. They are common in New South Wales and eastern Victoria. They are very commonly seen in parks and gardens around Canberra and other such cities feeding in low trees and can easily be touched when doing so.
They are usually found in small groups and will perch close together
in the highest branches of the tallest trees. They will only go to the
ground when they have to drink and to find nuts and cones, and congregate
in large numbers to feed on their favourite food, the Hawthorn berry.
The seeds of the Acacia and eucalyptus form a large part of their diet.
Housing in Aviculture
These parrots will adapt to most aviaries and suspended cages, but they tend to feather pick in smaller more confined cages, so a roomy aviary would suit them better. Place sturdy perches at the front and rear of the aviary and place the rear perch higher than the front, for 2 reasons, the birds tend to sleep on the highest perch at night and also to encourage exercise. Strong mesh should be used as like all cockatoos they do enjoy demolishing aviaries. They should always have something to keep them occupied, such as soft branches, rope or a block of wood that they can chew on.
Breeding in Aviculture
The first recorded breeding of this species was in France in 1921 by Lècallier. They lay 2 to 3 eggs, incubation lasts for 25-26 days, with the chicks fledging at 6-8 weeks. They will breed in a variety of nestboxes ranging from 45 cm tall and 30 cm in diameter to about 60 cm tall and 45 cm diameter. The nestbox should be made of thick planks, as they will chew through it. Male and female will share incubation and the female becomes the dominant one during the nesting period.
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