Callocephalon fimbriatum – Gang-gang Cockatoo

All photos and video on this page are copyright Di Donovan from Sydney NSW, Australia - see all her beautiful photos on Instagram: @flutterby_di

Gang-gang Cockatoo - Callocephalon fimbriatum (Grant, J, 1803) - is a small, sturdy parrot with large wide wings and short tail. They have a characteristic top, which is more puffy than the other cockatoes.

They are sociable birds and relatively quiet - especially when compared to the white cockatoos that can be very noicy.

Gang-gang Cockatoo can be easily recognized by its characteristic croaking screech, which sounds like a creaking door that opens. When eating they make a soft growling sound.

They are not very common as pets or in aviculture. With good care they can have a lifespan of 60 years or more.


The plumage is predominantly slate grey with lighter grey edge. The underside has a yellow and pink edge. The beak is light grey. The eyes are dark.

The male has a red head and crest.

The female has a small fluffy pale grey crest, grey head and red stripes on her chest. The light grey edges on the grey feathers are more pronounced than on the male.

The young birds look like the adult female - young males gradually get their red head and crest.

In flight, the Gang-gang Cockatoo can be confused with Galah.

Size: 33-35 cm
Weight: 240-330 grams

Geographic Range

Endemic in Southeastern Australia.

It is widespread in eastern New South Wales from the central slopes and highlands to the southern coast and down through Victoria's northeastern areas to Seymour. They are also found in eastern Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula and southwestern Gippsland. In addition, there is a group in the western part of Victoria from the Otway region to South Australian.

It was previously widespread in south-eastern Australia but there has been a drastic fall in their numbers due to urban development in Sydney as well as competition with other species about holes in the trees for nesting. In Sydney a large colony was previously present but now only one a single male has been spottet. There are still birds in the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney.

Previously also located on King Island until the mid-1960s but is now extinct there.

The birds are nomadic:

  • In summer, the Gang-gang Cockatoo live in open forests in highlands and foothills up to 2000 m altitude. During the summer of October to January, they stay in pairs or in small family groups.
  • In winter, they are located in the lower and more dry open forests and woodlands, where they can be seen near roads, parks and gardens in urban areas. They can be seen here in flocks of up to 60 birds.

For nesting they prefer tall trees where the female either chooses an existing cavity or utilizes her powerful beak to make a cavity in a tree. The male helps building the nest using small pieces of wood.


  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Cacatuidae
  • Genus: Callocephalon


  • Danish: Hjelmkakadu
  • English: Gang-gang Cockatoo, Gang-gang, Ganga, Helmeted Cockatoo, Red-crowned Cockatoo, Red-crowned Parrot, Red-headed Parrot,  Cockatoo Corella
  • French: Cacatoès à tête rouge, Cacatoès gang-gang
  • German:  Helmkakadu, Helm-Kakadu
  • Portuguese: Cacatua-gang-gang 
  • Spanish:  Cacatúa Gang-gang, Cacatúa Gang Gang, Cacatúa gangang

IUCN Red List

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Version 2017-3. <>.
Downloaded on 19 March 2018.

Notice the red head and crest on the male Gang-Gang




Wild birds feed on seeds from trees and shrubs, as well as berries, fruits, nuts, insects and larvae. The diet include sunflower seeds; walnuts, peanuts, pine nuts and fresh corn; apple and other fruits; hawthorn, cotoneaster and Pyracantha (firethorn) berries.

They spend most of their time in tall trees where the food is both gathered and consumed - they only come down to the ground to drink or seek food from fallen fruit or pine cones.

Outside the breeding season they can be seen in groups of up to 60 birds seeking food - in the breeding season they keep in pairs or in small flocks.


Gang-gang Cockatoo ties a close monogamous band with the mate and forms a pair for life.

They have a strong beak and love to chew so take that into account when choosing a cage or aviary. Give them plenty of bird safe wood or other toys which they can chew on.

They also love getting a bath.

As a chest box, a 1m long hollow tree trunk can be used.

The clutch usually contains 2-3 eggs. Both the male and female incubates the eggs for  25-30 days - the chicks fledges after 8 weeks. The male helps feeding the chicks after they are hatched and both parents still feed the chicks 4-6 weeks after leaving the nest.

Notice the grey head and crest on the female Gang-Gang


These immature males do not have the adult red head and crest yet.

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