Gang Gang Cockatoo
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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    photo of Gang Gang cockatoo Gang Gang close up phpto
  • An Australian Parrot                                (Click on photos to enlarge)
  • Scientific Name:  Callocephalon fimbriatum
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin:  No
  • Origin / Distribution:  South eastern Australia (southeast regions of New South Wales and southern Victoria) plus an introduced colony on Kangaroo Island in South Australia.
  • Habitat In Wild:  Woodlands and heavily forested areas. Will visit suburban areas including gardens and parks to feed on suitable trees and plants.
  • Status In Wild:  Declining due to loss of habitat and loss of suitable nesting hollows usually found in old growth forests.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Secure
  • Age To Sexual Maturity: about 3 - 4 years.
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  5th year onwards
  • Lifespan (estimate):  approx. 20 or more years
  • Sexing: Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • Colour mutations:  Possibly one, but not established.
  • Availability:  Specialist breeders.  Very few young are bred each year.
  • Temperament: Often a nervous bird in captivity that can develop bad habits such as feather plucking.  Only for the experienced parrot breeder.  Prefers a cool climate.  Wild Gang Gangs will visit and feed in suburban gardens and parks.  They usually do not make a good pet or companion bird.  They do best with a mate or in a group.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $2000 - $2500
  • Description Of Adults:  Cock bird has a bright red head and crest.  The crest curves forward.  The hen has orange barring on the breast.
  1. Length: Approx. 350 mm (or approx. 14 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photos above.
  3. Weight: Approx. 200 - 300 gms (or approx  9 ozs)
Aviary Notes:

Level Of Knowledge Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Specialist Breeders Only.

Government Regulations & By-Laws: Refer to " Government Laws " web page.

Housing Requirements: Refer to " Housing Birds " web page for general details on the housing of Cockatoos or read on for specific details for this parrot.

An aviary of 5 metres (16 feet) long will allow Gang Gang cockatoos to be able to get adequate exercise.  The aviary should be about 1.5 metres (5 feet) wide and about 2.1 metres (7 feet) high.  Heavy gauge wire is necessary, preferably galvanized weldmesh.

These birds are usually kept as one pair per aviary.

Suitable non-toxic leafy branches can be placed in the aviary for the birds to chew up. This will entertain the birds, help minimize boredom and give the birds some beak exercise. Natural branches can be used for perches. These natural perches will be chewed by the birds and may need to be replaced regularly.

Diet / Feeding: Refer to " Feeding Birds " web page for general details on the feeding of Cockatoos or read on for specific details for this parrot.

In the wild they usually do not feed on the ground.  Some aviary birds have changed this behaviour and happily feed from feeders on the ground.  Many breeders have the food trays about 1 metre (3 - 3.5 feet) above the floor level.  Native foods include seeds of the Acacia, Eucalypt and the introduced Pine species.
Branches, seeds and cones of these trees and other suitable native plants should be offered to the birds along with branches and fruiting bodies of the cotoneaster and hawthorn bushes (Crataegus monogyna).  This will provide them with hours of physical activity and mental stimulation as well as a varied diet.  This physical activity is necessary to help prevent bad habits such as feather plucking which is common in Gang Gangs.  Surplus berries from many of these shrubs can be harvested and frozen for use later as required.

In the wild the Gang Gang cockatoo will eat grubs, caterpillars, moth larvae, saw fly grubs, beetle larvae and other insects as they occur during the season.  In an aviary the birds can be offered insects such as the larvae, pupa and beetle stages of the mealworm, crickets, commercially reared cockroaches as well as the insects that can be found in local trees and gardens.  Some breeders feed meat to their birds to supplement the protein requirements of the birds during the breeding season.

Aviary diet should include canary seed, corn, hulled oats, millets, milo, and wheat but restrict the amount of Sunflower and safflower seed.

Other foods can include nuts such as almonds and peanuts, a variety of vegetables such as corn, peas, soaked mung beans and leafy greens such as silverbeet.  Apple is a favourite fruit.  Bread, plain Madeira cake, and dry dog food can be offered.  Many will eat insects such as grubs and mealworms as well as commercially raised mice.

Nesting: A basic overview only. Dimensions are typical / average and can vary widely, influenced by the owner's preferences and the birds preferences. Parent bird's preferences can also be influenced by the size and type of nest-box / log in which the bird was hatched and reared. If space allows, offering a choice of sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, and placed in various locations within the aviary, can allow the parent birds to make their own choice. Once a pair has chosen a specific nest-box/log and been successful in it, offer that one to them each breeding season. Try and keep that one for their exclusive use. Once a pair has chosen its log or nest-box, the other ones can generally be removed. If the "spare" boxes are to be removed and moved to another flight, ensure the log / nest-box is cleaned to ensure the receptacle has the minimal contamination of mites, parasites and pathogens.

A solid log is the preferred nest for large cockatoos.

  • Nesting months: October to January.
  • Log / Nest-box:
    • Length / depth  600 - 1200 mm (or approx. 24 - 48 inches)
    • Log internal diameter approx. 200 - 275 mm. (or approx. 8 - 11 inches)
    • Nest-box internal dimensions approx. 200 - 275 mm square (or approx. 8 - 11 inches square)
    • Diameter of entrance hole approx. 75 mm (or approx. 3 inches)
    • Inspection hole (square or round) 100- 125 mm (or approx  4 - 5 inches)
    • A removable top / lid can be a useful access point for inspections and for cleaning.
    • Location and height of log / nest-box = high in the covered part of the aviary but not too close to the roof to be affected by heat from the roof in the summer months.
    • Angle of log or nest box =  Log or nest box can be vertical or on an angle of up to 45 degrees.  Log is generally hung in a vertical or near vertical position.  Success has been achieved with logs without a lid; the birds using the open top end as the nest entrance.  Rosemary Low recommends a log size of 600mm long and 200 - 230mm internal diameter.
  • Nesting log / nest-box material: Decomposed non-toxic saw dust, wood shavings or other suitable material/s.
  • Who incubates the egg/s: Hen / cock / both share.

Many pairs of Gang Gangs are intolerant of nest inspections often resulting in the death of the young.
Some breeders have had success with the logs being placed vertically on the floor of the aviary.
Timber nest-boxes generally require a climbing structure attached inside the box below the entrance hole. Both logs and nests need an entrance hole/opening about 100 - 150mm (about 4 -6 inches) from the top. Many species of parrots like the entrance hole to be just big enough to squeeze through. Some parrot breeders do not place a "top" or lid on the larger nest log or box and allow the birds to enter the nest via the top opening.

More details on parrot nestboxes/logs and a selection of parrot nestbox/log photos can be found on the "nests", "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" web pages.  Click on "Up" then "Nests" then "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" in the navigation bars. 

Breeding: Egg Colour White.  Clutch/s per year 1.  Eggs per nest 2, sometimes 3.  Incubation approx. 25 - 28 days.  Fledge approx. 7 - 8 weeks.  Independent approx. = often fed by the parents for 2 - 3 months after they leave the nest.

Very few young are bred each year.  Most pairs do not breed regularly.  May take 4 or more years before a Gang Gang cockatoo will breed successfully.  Most pairs will only produce 2 young in a good year.
Parent birds can be aggressive to the owner/s during the breeding season.
Best results are achieved from pairs that are allowed to "pair up" at a young age.
It can be difficult to change a bonded bird's mate. If a bird looses its mate, it may take several years for the bird to establish a new successful pair bonding and recommence breeding.

Artificial incubation and hand rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site. It is too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.

Health Issues: Refer to "Avian Health Issues" web page for information and references.

  • Worming and parasite control and Quarantine requirements of new bird/s or sick bird/s are considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web site. Refer "Avian Health Issues" web page option.
  • Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace. Keep updating your knowledge and skills.

General References: Refer to references listed on "Book References" web page.

Specific References:

  • Australian Aviculture
  • A/A Vol 59 No. 2 Feb 2005 Page 45-46.
  • A/A Vol 57 No 7. Jul 2003 Page145-148.
  • A/A Vol 54 No. 9 Sept 2000 Page 201-204 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 46 No. 11 Nov 1992 Page 266-272
  • A/A Vol 46 No. 1 Jan 1992 Page 7-15
  • A/A Vol 57 No 7. Page145-148
  • A/A Vol 36 No. 6 Jun 1982 Page 121-127 (Inc photo
  • A/A Vol 33 No. 2 Feb 1979 Page 24-27 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 32 No. 9 Sept 1978 Page 131-132 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol  9 No 2 Feb 1955 Page 19.
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 15 Issue 3. Jun-Jul 2002 Page 135-138 ( R Low).
  • ABK Vol 14 Issue 10. Aug-Sept 2001 Page 548-551
  • ABK Vol  9 Issue 4. Aug-Sept 1996 Page 164-168 (Part2)
  • ABK Vol  9 Issue 3. Jun-July 1996 Page 130-134
  • ABK Vol  2 Issue 10. Aug-Sept1989 Page 374-375

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