Callocephalon fimbriatum - Gang-gang Cockatoo

Male Gang-gang Cockatoo – notice the red head and crest.

Photo: All photos and video on this page are copyright © Di Donovan
See more of her 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 Sulphur-crested Cockatoos that can be very noisy.

Gang-gang Cockatoo can be easily recognized by its characteristic creaking calls, 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.

Gang-gang Cockatoo is listed on CITES Appendix II and EU Annex B.
It is categorized as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List.


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.

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




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.


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.



  • 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
  • Scientific: Callocephalon fimbriatum

IUCN Red List

BirdLife International 2022. Callocephalon fimbriatum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2022: e.T22684755A210869419.
Accessed on 20 May 2023


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.

Photo Credits

All photos and video on this page are copyright © Di Donovan  – see more of her photos on Instagram: @flutterby_di

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

Juvenile male