Wp/nys/Karrak (Red Tailed Black Cockatoo)

< Wp‎ | nys
Wp > nys > Karrak (Red Tailed Black Cockatoo)

Karrak, karrakin, or karak[1] is known in English as the Red Tailed Black Cockatoo, or specifically for the SW Western Australian sub species with the scientific name Calyptorhynchus banksii naso as the Forest Red Tailed Black Cockatoo. Karrak's name comes from its loud harsh cries “Karee”, “Karrak” or “Krar-raak”, it also makes “chet” sounds wer harsh nasal wheezing. The male breeding call is a repeated mechanical “waa-waa”. The male has a bright orange-red band towards the tip of its tail whilst the female has a tail narrowly banded with red, yellow and orange.[2]

Female Karrak in Whicher Range National Park
A pair (maaman on left and yorga on right)
Karrak female and male behind
Karrak, one male on right, two females on the left

They live in hollow trees. Sometimes you can see the babies in the hollows in winter time. The yorga has orange wer yellow il its tail wer the maaman has just red. They have very strong beaks that can rip the top off a gumnut (honky nut).

Whilst karrak is only endemic to Noongar boodjar, there are four other subspecies of Red Tailed Black Cockatoo, three of them endemic to other areas of Australia, wer the fourth species Calyptorhynchus banksii samueli exists in four scattered populations: keny of them in central coastal Western Australia from the Pilbara south to the northern Wheatbelt in the vicinity of Northam. Birds of nidja subspecies are generally smaller with smaller bills, whilst Karrak has a large bill (the scientific name naso refers to the bill).

title Australian Red Tailed Black Cockatoo Bird Song/Call - Sound of Bird

Range and Conservation Status


Usually, karrak is seen in pairs or small flocks, seldom large flocks (up to 200). Its conservation status is "Listed Vulnerable: Schedule 1 – Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act". It has declined due to destruction of forests wer woodlands, also competition for nest hollows with native wer exotic species (feral European honey bees, wer the expansion in range of Australian Shelduck wer Australian Wood Duck), the impact of fire in the spring breeding season, wer also vehicle strikes.[2] It favours Mari, Djaraly (Jarrah) wer Karri forests.

Karrak was formerly common but is now rare to uncommon and were patchily distributed over a range which has become markedly reduced. Its territory is the humid wer sub-humid south-west; mainly in hilly interior, north to Gingin (formerly to Dandaragan) wer east to Mt Helena (formerly to Toodyay), Christmas Tree Well near Brookton, North Bannister (formerly to Wandering), Mt Saddleback, Kojonup, Rocky Gully, upper King River wer east to the Green Range.[2]

Kaarakin is the Black Cockatoo Rehabilitation Centre at Martin in the City of Gosnells.[3]

Karrak Waarnk - Stories about the Red Tailed Black Cockatoo


A red-tailed black cockatoo, named Karak, was the official mascot of the 2006 Commonwealth Games held in Melbourne.

The colour of their tail represents a dreaming story which is linked to fire.

Karrak acquired its red tail markings il the tail from Ngolak (White tailed black cockatoo). Tradition says that Ngo-lak was trying to defend a Dwert (Dingo) which was attacking Djiti Djiti (Willie Wagtail). Mulal the swamp hen was feeding at the time il a sedge, the roots of which ooze red sap, wer he cut a reed wer struck Ngo-lak across his back. When Ngo-lak spread his tail to defend his back, Mulal threw lumps of red sap at his tail. Ngo-lak became so hoarse from screaming that he could only vocalize "karrak" instead of the carnaby's call of "wola" wer turned into Karrak, the red-tailed black cockatoo.[4]

Karrak, Ngolak, Ngolyenok and Monarch


An essay on the Noongar entomology, of the Baudin'. Carnaby' and Bank's black cockatoos and the long billed Corrella. With critique.


Ngiyan waarnk - References

  1. Bernard Rooney. The Nyoongar Legacy. Batchelor Press (2011). ISBN 978 174131 232 4
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo. Western Australian Museum. Retrieved 6 January 2017
  3. Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre. Retrieved 6 January 2017
  4. Peter Hancock. Ancient tales of Perth's fascinating birds. Sydney Morning Herald. Published 5 April 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2017