Old World Aviaries

The Gang Gang Cockatoo

by Scott Lewis
Last updated 04/30/00

(Editor's note: These photos of Gang Gang Cockatoos were supplied by Australian aviculturist Mike Owen. He has an excellent series of articles at Birds-n-Ways. The birds pictured here are wild Gang Gangs that make a habit of visiting a home in Australia to eat at a window sill. We should be so lucky.)

gangwld1.jpg - 18579 Bytes gangwld2.jpg - 27771 Bytes gangwld3.jpg - 29383 Bytes Callocephalon fimbriatum, the Gang Gang Cockatoo, is one of the rarest cockatoos in U.S. aviculture and one of the most unusual. Obviously, it is also one of the cutest. Females are solid gray; males are gray with a red head. The gray feathers are trimmed with greyish white. The crest is unique in being flimsy and poorly developed, almost like a scraggly tuft of feathers instead of a “real” cockatoo's crest. Overall, to me, the birds look like primitive ancestors of other cockatoos, such as the Galah (Rose-breasted Cockatoo).

Native to temperate forests in Australia, their population was in decline because of habitat destruction. However, according to one Australian aviculturist, Mike Owen, much of their remaining habitat is now in the national park system. And, they are adapting to human settlements and are seen in areas such as gardens. (The birds pictured here were feeding at a window sill.) In addition, very few birds are taken illegally from the wild. Therefore, their population has stabilized.

Gang Gangs need animal protein, lest they pluck and self-mutilate. Australian aviculturists who have Gang Gangs regularly feed chicken, pinkie mice, and other sources of animal protein. They are reported to make good pets but are too rare and valuable to keep except for breeding in the U.S.

Although more may exist, I know of only one source of Gang Gangs in the U.S., Hill Country Aviaries in Dripping Springs, TX. In the U.S. a Gang Gang baby is typically in the range of $15,000.

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