Gang-gang cockatoos: the faunal emblem for Canberra (ACT)

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos are not the only birds in Canberra, but you could be forgiven for thinking so if you are a regular reader of my blog.

Autumn is such a busy time for all birds in Canberra, so there are many photo opportunities, but the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo some how always manages to fly into scenes and photos..

Much ado about nothing..

So to educate myself about other birds, last spring I joined a group of people surveying the Gang-Gang Cockatoo, here in the National Botanical Gardens.

My first glimpse of a young Gang-Gang Cockatoo (male) at the National Botanical Gardens.

In Canberra we are lucky enough to have seven varieties of Cockatoos (who knew?) and this cute pair are the male and female Gang-Gang Cockatoo.

Photo by Julian Robinson Canberra Ornithologists Group

The adult male has a distinctive scarlet red head and crest, and the female has a dark grey head and chest..

The description of the Gang-Gang is that they are ”gregarious, but relatively quiet cockatoos” ..probably because they can’t get a word in edgeways, if the white Cockatoo is around!

Photo by Julian Robinson Canberra Ornithologists Group

They live in monogamous pairs and family groups can be seen together in summer. In some cases the young Gang-Gangs roost together in the same tree while the parents are foraging for food.

I had difficulty finding Gang-gang Cockatoos in the Botanical Gardens, but was told to listen for a sound like a squeaking door, and sure enough, when I listen for that sound, I looked up and saw, through flakes of bark drifting down on me, the red tuft of the male cockatoo……

A young male Gang-Gang cockatoo …

The Gang-Gang Cockatoo is the faunal emblem of the ACT and it is part of the logo of the Canberra Ornithologists Group and ACT Parks, Conservation and Lands department.

Perhaps as a result of the quiet nature of the Gang-Gang Cockatoo, I got very few photos that day,….so my thanks goes to Julian Robinson for his two lovely photos of the Gang-Gang male and female together….looking very endearing.

I’ll end with photo and text taken and written by Geoffrey Dabb, which featured in the Canberra Times some years ago…I hope you can read it.

Text and photo Geoffrey Dabb.


Did you hear who she’s been seeing lately?


Thanks to the Canberra Ornithologists Group for their interesting and informative website


Copyright: Geraldine Mackey All Rights Reserved.








20 Replies to “Gang-gang cockatoos: the faunal emblem for Canberra (ACT)”

    1. Thanks Susan, I hadn’t seen any Gang-Gangs around Canberra, so it was interesting to seek them out….although the White Cockatoos always have the last word!

  1. Lovely! I did get the impression the white cockatoos like to have the last word. In one of our rented Queensland cottages they would fly around the valley every evening making one heck of a racket.

  2. This is a wonderful post because I cannot imagine living with all these gorgeous birds flying in and out. Around here, seagulls are found close to the water and regular small birds elsewhere. It must be like having a colorful, feathered garden up high in your trees. 🙂

    1. Nice idea to have a feathered garden in the trees, but I’m not sure I could stand their screeching down in the house!

  3. What fabulous birds you have in your city. Though I may have a preference for the Sulpher Crested Cockatoos – so lively and so much personality!

    1. I have to agree, I just can’t but help love the expressive cockatoos, even though they nip the tops off my roses…just for fun.

  4. Oh….what beauties!!! You really are lucky having so many cockatoos, they are such mischievous, playful intelligent creatures, how I wish we had them here….still, I can enjoy them on your blog! Those red crests are just stunning!!!xxx

  5. What a treat to have those lovely creatures to watch. I suspect I’d have my gaze in the air all the time, except when on the lookout for all the poisonous creepy-crawlies you have down there! Cockatoos just seem so exotic, it’s a bit hard to imagine getting used to seeing them on an every-day basis.

    1. Yes the Cockatoos are wild, but yet, in Canberra because we have so much grassland between suburbs, they are quite used to people…and a treat to watch.

  6. I love Gang-gangs. I only ever saw them once in three years of living in Canberra, but I was so excited! It still makes me laugh, how quiet and ‘tweety’ English birds are by comparison though!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.