Cacatua sanguinea Scientific name definitions
- LC Least Concern
- Names (16)
- Subspecies (5)
36–39 cm; 430–580 g; culmen 34 mm. White with medium-length (65 mm) crest and diagnostic short bill; face salmon pink, as are bases of feathers of head and throat that are usually concealed; undersurfaces of wings and tail washed with yellow ; periophthalmic ring blue-grey, wider below the eye; bill bone-coloured; eye dark brown in both sexes; legs grey. Sexes similar. Juvenile as adults but periophthalmic ring smaller and paler blue. Race gymnopsis
has wing and bill shorter
, general coloration redder; westralensis similar to gymnopsis but separated by 1000 km; normantoni smaller in all dimensions and very similar to transfreta, but latter has buff underwing coloration.
Editor’s Note: This article requires further editing work to merge existing content into the appropriate Subspecies sections. Please bear with us while this update takes place.Closely related to C. goffiniana. Sometimes considered conspecific with C. pastinator, and in the past these two treated as conspecific with C. tenuirostris; but current evidence suggests that the three are probably best considered to constitute three separate species. Has hybridized in the wild with Callocephalon fimbriatum and Eolophus roseicapilla (1). Race westralensis sometimes subsumed within gymnopis. Proposed race subdistincta (from Kimberley, in N Western Australia) included within nominate; ashbyi (from Yanco Glen, N of Broken Hill, in W New South Wales) is synonymized with gymnopis. Five subspecies currently recognized.
Cacatua sanguinea transfreta Scientific name definitions
lowland S New Guinea between Kumbe R and lower Fly R.
Cacatua sanguinea sanguinea Scientific name definitions
NW Western Australia (Kimberley) and Northern Territory E to Gulf of Carpentaria.
Cacatua sanguinea westralensis Scientific name definitions
WC and C Western Australia.
Cacatua sanguinea gymnopis Scientific name definitions
inland C and E Australia (S from NW and C Queensland).
Cacatua sanguinea normantoni Scientific name definitions
W Cape York Peninsula (NW Queensland).
Editor’s Note: Additional distribution information for this taxon can be found in the ‘Subspecies’ article above. In the future we will develop a range-wide distribution article.
Grassy woodland , scrub and grassland throughout tropical N and inland semi-arid Australia and S New Guinea.
Strong flier, travelling long distances to water or to abundant food sources, e.g. a piggery, feed-lot or grain crop. Some very large flocks assemble, e.g. 32,000 birds at a sorghum crop, Kununurra, Western Australia; in such flocks members tend to roost together, but flock breaks up into smaller units for breeding.
Diet and Foraging
Seeds of grasses and herbaceous plants, together with shoots, roots and blossom; also insects and their larvae. Sociable, foraging in large flocks, especially where grain fed to livestock. Numbers and range have increased following widespread provision of water from subartesian bores. Most seeds gathered from the ground , but where the plant
is robust enough for the bird to land on it (e.g. sorghum), bird will feed directly on the ear of grain; control is not easy in the latter circumstances since, if bird is disturbed by shooting noise or explosive devices, it will drop the head it is feeding on, fly around a bit, settle again and begin to eat a fresh head, with result that damage can be doubled. Also feeds from troughs containing grain for livestock. Eats seeds of many different annual and perennial grasses when available.
Sounds and Vocal Behavior
Flight call is a nasal bisyllabic or trisyllabic “ke-wheh” or “ke-re-weh”, very similar to C. tenuirostris but slightly lower-pitched. Alarm calls include loud screeches and braying sounds.
Laying in dry season (May–Oct) in tropics, in spring (Aug–Oct) further S, but May–Oct in South Australia. Nests in tree-hollows ; hollow baobabs (Adansonia gregorii) much used in N, whereas elsewhere species typically nests in hollow eucalypts lining watercourses. 2–3 eggs (occasionally 4); incubation 24–26 days, by both parents; chick has sparse pale yellow down; nestlings remain in the hollow for c. 7 weeks, and are fed by both parents. After the young have fledged , whole family joins large nomadic foraging flock.
Not globally threatened. CITES II. Common throughout inland and N Australia, frequently attaining pest status where irrigated cereal crops are grown . No definite population figures available, but species is undoubtedly secure at present. Recently established in Tasmania, where origins of population uncertain.