Bright Black Birds in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Black cockatoos have eluded me and my OM-D for quite some time. Whenever I heard their recognizable call and had my camera out, they had already flown off.

Pleasant surprise in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Pleasant surprise in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

The more I was surprised when I had a few splendid opportunities to capture these bright birds up close and personal in Townsville. They didn’t appear as timid up here in Far North Queensland. And if I wouldn’t know better, they have even been posing in front of my lens. This gave me an unmissable opportunity to get close with my camera, they sure didn’t mind.

Rich colours all around in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Rich colours all around in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

There are 5 different sub species of ‘Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos’ on the Australian Continent. Some are quiet rare and close to extinction due to usual human influences. They seem to thrive in northern parts of this country.

Visual differences between male and female cockatoos in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Visual differences between male and female cockatoos in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

There are a few visual differences between male and female cockatoos. 

Happy male customer in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Happy male customer in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Males have a pitch black plumage from elongated feathers on the crown.

Bright red tail feathers are easy to reckognise for male black cockatoos in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Bright red tail feathers are easy to reckognise for male black cockatoos in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

But they have the distinguished red tailed feathers, which gives this species its name.

Prominent colours of female black cockatoos in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Prominent colours of female black cockatoos in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Not very often does Mother Nature provide the spectacular outlook on female species. In this case, it is inadmissible.

Brilliant shiny display on colours in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Brilliant shiny display on colours in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Yellow to red spots flank her upper body and wings in a brilliant display. These are more obvious in glaring sunshine, quiet fabulous .

Twinkle stars in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Twinkle stars in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

They almost look like stars in the night sky. Her tail feathers are lined with yellow lines over black mass. Juvenile’s tail feathers keep the very same pattern as females until they reach puberty at the age of 4 years.

Where is everyone? Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Where is everyone? Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Young males eventually replace their black and yellow feathers to bright red feathers. Only then it becomes obvious for the untrained eye to determine their gender.

What’s up wid chew? Townsville, Queensland, Australia

What’s up wid chew? Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Red-Tailed Cockatoos are seed eaters and there are plenty found up here. In common with other cockatoos and parrots, red-tailed black cockatoos have zygodactyl feet, two toes facing forward and two backward.

Clever birds in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Clever birds in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

This allows them to grasp objects with one foot while standing on the other, for feeding and manipulation.

Lefty! Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Lefty! Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Black cockatoos are almost exclusively left-footed, who would have known. This theory concludes on my photos taken, where always the left foot is used to hold the fruit.

A fruity selection in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

A fruity selection in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

This fruit gets picked from the tree, which can be a bit awkward to dose at times.

Shaky conditions up high in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Shaky conditions up high in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Particularly in windy conditions it becomes a wee balance act.

Almost! Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Almost! Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Nothing these clever birds can’t handle.

Change of scenery in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Change of scenery in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Sometimes the twig holding the fruit gets cut and later disposed of when in comfortable feeding position. The shell is easily cut open and dropped to the ground before dinner is served.

Cockatoo swoop in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Cockatoo swoop in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Being in a comfortable position doesn’t always mean a peaceful position.

Gotcha! Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Gotcha! Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Often enough, fellow members of the cockatoo community swoop down on feeding cockatoos, getting them to move on.

On the move again in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

On the move again in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

This often gets the whole flock moving with loud ‘krurr’ or ‘kree’ sounds. A rather noisy undertaking. 

Drop stop in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Drop stop in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

With all that motion and commotion, fruits and seeds often drop to the ground. With an abundance of fruits hanging in the trees, they would be left for grounded foragers. But that isn’t always the case.

Surprised Beach goers in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Surprised Beach goers in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

I was pleasantly surprised to see this female moving to the ground on the beach, to finish her main course.

No danger in sight in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

No danger in sight in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

She didn’t mind me or my camera at all. It even appeared as if she was modeling for me, giving me a wink with the eye. Well, invite gratefully accepted to take some incredible closeup photos. I was holding my breath and my finger on the shutter button.

Oh look! There’s more! Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Oh look! There’s more! Townsville, Queensland, Australia

She fairly enjoyed her entree and picked up seconds.

Should I stay or should I go now! Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Should I stay or should I go now! Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Such colours are incredible in the sun.

I go! Townsville, Queensland, Australia

I go! Townsville, Queensland, Australia

She decided, it might be best to fly to a safer feeding area with her dessert.

Still keeping an eye out for me and my OM-D in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Still keeping an eye out for me and my OM-D in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Well up high, she was still keeping an eye out for me. Bon Appetite. What a charmer. 

Agile acrobats, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Agile acrobats, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

For a large flying bird, these cockatoos are incredibly agile.

Ready for takeoff in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Ready for takeoff in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

It really was hard to follow them with my lens and I had my best shots on pre-speculated flying or landing areas.

Colourful display in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Colourful display in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Those multi-coloured wings look mesmerizing against the blue sky. Pointing in the right direction with my lens and getting shutter speed and focus point right was an immense task and most photos taken got deleted.

Great shot in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Great shot in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

A few however, turned out quite well. Gotta be happy with that.

Female forage in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Female forage in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

These are only a few photos of the hundreds of photos I took. Selection was again the hardest part. Apart from a sore neck.

Bon Appetites! Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Bon Appetites! Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Watching these clever birds interacting with themselves was just magnificent. 

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