Gang-gang Cockatoo

Gang-gang Cockatoo

Callocephalon fimbriatum Scientific name definitions

  • LC Least Concern
  • Names (15)
  • Monotypic


32–37 cm; 280 g. Male  has general plumage grey 

© Nicholas TalbotMansfield, Victoria, Australia 04 Nov 2013Macaulay Library ML 205584291eBird S65112651

, with head 

© Tomasz DorońNiedersachsen, Germany 07 Oct 2009

and crest  orange-red; feathers of upperparts 

© Tomasz DorońNiedersachsen, Germany 03 Jul 2010

edged with white, and of underparts with yellow; wings and tail dark grey; eye brown, bill horn, and legs grey. Female 

© Nicole BouglouanCanarias, Spain 27 Dec 2007

generally similar, but head  and crest grey, and much more prominently barred underparts  (1) are edged with orange and greenish yellow; tail also barred (1). Juvenile  resembles adult female, but male  shows some red on forehead, crown and crest; juvenile female separated from same sex adult by shorter crest, faint barring on tail and is generally darker and duller (1). Plumage maturation 

© David and Kathy CookBega Valley, New South Wales, Australia 22 Sep 2013Macaulay Library ML 205730631eBird S65132143

occupies c. 3 years (1).

Systematics History

Hybridization in the wild recorded between female of present species and male of Cacatua sanguinea (2). Monotypic.


Introduced to Kangaroo I (South Australia).


SE Australia from Great Dividing Range to coast: from Hunter R, in N New South Wales (occasionally N to Dorrigo), S to extreme S of South Australia–Victoria border (mainly along Glenelg R).


Wooded  coastal plain, tablelands and mountain forests, especially of Eucalyptus  (1) (but also pine matrix) (3), up to 2000 m; mainly spends austral winter in open and riverine woodland, scrub, farmland and even suburban areas, all in lowlands (1).


Altitudinal migrant, nesting high in mountain forests, but wintering (Apr–Sept) (1) on the coastal plain and tablelands. In the past 50 years, species has taken to foraging in well-vegetated suburbs of towns and cities, particularly Canberra. In some areas Callocephalon is perhaps locally nomadic, e.g. in Snow Mts, SE New South Wales, where some are seen in the subalpine zone throughout the year (4). Rare vagrant to King I and N Tasmania.

Diet and Foraging

Seeds, fruits  and berries  from a wide variety of native trees and shrubs, including Eucalyptus, green acacia and Pyracantha (1); also insects  and their larvae. Following plant species (both introduced  and native) were visited by C. fimbriatum in New South Wales to feed on their seeds: Cupressus semipervirensLiquidambar styracifluaAcacia baileyanaA. mearnsiiEucalyptus albensE. bridgesianaE. divesE. melliodoraEucalyptus globulus globulus (5). Systematically strips trees in fruit, using both feet (especially the left  ) and bill (1). Food is gathered from the canopy  , and only rarely, if ever, from the ground  (which is usually only visited to drink) (1). In suburbia, frequently eats berries of Crataegus  . Very tame while feeding.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

Utters soft growls while feeding and a very distinctive, upward-inflected, prolonged, croaking screech in contact (1).


Nests Oct–Jan. Nest is a hollow  very high (c. 20 m) (1) in a subalpine forest eucalypt, either dead or alive, but usually close to water (1). Usually two white (1eggs  (1–3) laid on pile of decaying wood chips, created by the adults as they enlarge the tree hollow (1); chick has sparse yellowish-cream down; in captivity, both parents incubate the eggs for 24–30 days, and feed the nestlings for 7–8 weeks. Fledglings are fed for 4–6 weeks more; members of family usually remain together all winter.

Conservation Status

Conservation status on BirdlifeLC Least Concern

Not globally threatened. CITES II. Generally common, and population appears secure; indeed, appears to be becoming increasingly common due to overwintering in suburban Canberra. At least in parts of Victoria  , density estimates were highest in forest that has been partially logged (6), but in S New South Wales numbers were greatest in continuous eucalypt forest (3). Nesting in tall forest trees that are difficult to find helps to protect present species from human nest robbers.

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