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Callocephalon fimbriatum

Callocephalon fimbriatum, Photo: Michael Lahanas

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Cladus: Avemetatarsalia
Cladus: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauriformes
Cladus: Dracohors
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Eusaurischia
Subordo: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Cladus: Averostra
Cladus: Tetanurae
Cladus: Avetheropoda
Cladus: Coelurosauria
Cladus: Tyrannoraptora
Cladus: Maniraptoromorpha
Cladus: Maniraptoriformes
Cladus: Maniraptora
Cladus: Pennaraptora
Cladus: Paraves
Cladus: Eumaniraptora
Cladus: Avialae
Infraclassis: Aves
Cladus: Euavialae
Cladus: Avebrevicauda
Cladus: Pygostylia
Cladus: Ornithothoraces
Cladus: Ornithuromorpha
Cladus: Carinatae
Parvclassis: Neornithes
Cohors: Neognathae
Cladus: Neoaves
Cladus: Telluraves
Cladus: Australaves
Ordo: Psittaciformes

Familia: Cacatuidae
Subfamilia: Cacatuinae
Genus: Callocephalon
Species: Callocephalon fimbriatum

Callocephalon fimbriatum (Grant, 1803)
Vernacular names
беларуская: Какаду шаломаносны
čeština: Kakadu příbový
dansk: Hjelmkakadu
Deutsch: Helmkakadu
English: Gang-gang Cockatoo
español: Cacatúa gang gang
eesti: Kiiverkakaduu
suomi: Kekälekakadu
français: Cacatoès à tête rouge
magyar: Sisakos kakadu
italiano: Cacatua gang gang
日本語: アカサカオウム, akasakaoumu
lietuvių: Šalmuotoji kakadu
Nederlands: Helmkaketoe
norsk: Hjelmkakadu
polski: Kakadu krasnogłowa
português: Cacatua-gang-gang
русский: Шлемоносный какаду
slovenčina: Kakadu prilbatý
svenska: Hjälmkakadua
中文: 紅冠灰鳳頭鸚鵡

Callocephalon fimbriatum

Callocephalon fimbriatum , male (left), female (*)

The gang-gang cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum) is a parrot found in the cooler and wetter forests and woodlands of Australia, particularly alpine bushland. It is the only species placed in the genus Callocephalon. Mostly mild grey in colour with some lighter scalloping (more pronounced and buffy in females), the male has a red head and crest, while the female has a small fluffy grey crest. It ranges throughout south-eastern Australia. The gang-gang cockatoo is the faunal emblem of the Australian Capital Territory. It is easily identified by its distinctive call, which is described as resembling a creaky gate, or the sound of a cork being pulled from a wine bottle.

The name gang-gang comes from a New South Wales Aboriginal language, probably from one of the coastal languages, although possibly from Wiradjuri. It is probably an onomatopoeic name.[2]


In 1803 the British Royal Navy officer James Grant included an illustration of the gang-gang cockatoo in his book describing a voyage to the colony of New South Wales in Australia. Grant coined the binomial name Psittacus fimbriatus.[3] The gang-gang cockatoo is now the only species placed in the genus Callocephalon that was introduced in 1837 by the French naturalist René Lesson.[4][5] The type locality is the Bass River in the state of Victoria.[6] The specific epithet is from Latin fimbriata meaning "fringed". The genus name combines the Ancient Greek kallos meaning "beauty" and kephalē meaning "head".[7] The species is monotypic: no subspecies are recognised.[5]

The classification of the gang-gang cockatoo has always been controversial due to the unusual appearance and coloration of the bird, especially its sexual dichromatism. The gang-gang cockatoo was thought to be a distinctive early offshoot of the Calyptorhynchinae (black) cockatoos.[8] However, more recent molecular phylogenetic analysis places it in the Cacatuinae clade, not the Calyptorhynchinae, and having diverged from the palm cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus).[9]

The gang-gang cockatoo is a grey bird with a wispy crest. The head and crest is bright red in males, but dark grey in females. The edges of feathers in underparts have edges of yellow or pink. The edges of feathers on upperarts are slightly paler grey than the rest of the feather, which makes the bird look somewhat barred. Juvenile males can be distinguished by their brighter crowns and shorter crests, but otherwise look similar to the adult female. The birds are not easily mistaken for other cockatoos, but while in flight may resemble the Galah. Gang-gangs are very social birds, but not overly noisy.[10]
Distribution and habitat

The gang-gang is endemic to coastal regions of south-eastern Australia. They used to inhabit King Island off of Tasmania, but they have since gone extinct locally. They are an introduced species on Kangaroo Island. The gang-gang prefers forests and woodlands in the mountains with dense shrub understories. The birds migrate short distances during winter into more open habitats. They must migrate back to denser forests to breed, as they need tall trees in order to build nests.[10]
Behaviour and ecology

Unlike most other cockatoos, gang-gangs nest in young, solid trees, the females using their strong beaks to excavate nesting cavities. Also, they breed in the canopy of most trees.

Loss of older, hollow trees and loss of feeding habitat across south-eastern Australia through land clearing has led to a significant reduction in the numbers of this cockatoo in recent years. As a result, the gang-gang is now listed as vulnerable in New South Wales.[11] It is protected as a vulnerable species under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (NSW).[12] This protection status as a threatened species makes it a Tier 1 criminal offence for a person or corporation to knowingly damage the bird's habitat.[13] Damage is defined to include "damage caused by removing any part of the habitat".[14] Habitat is defined to include "an area periodically or occasionally occupied by a species".[15]

In July 2021, an Australian Department of the Environment and Energy spokesperson stated the population has declined by approximately 69% in the last three generations, or 21 years and in addition to this decline, the species has suffered direct mortality and habitat loss during the 2019–20 Australian bushfire season. Between 28 to 36 per cent of the species' distribution was impacted by the fires.[16] As a result, it is set to listed as endangered under the threatened fauna of Australia.[17]


BirdLife International (2018). "Callocephalon fimbriatum". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018: e.T22684755A131914594. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T22684755A131914594.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
Gray, Jeannie; Fraser, Ian (2013). Australian Bird Names: A Complete Guide. Collingwood, VIC, Australia: CSIRO Publishing. p. 127. ISBN 9780643104709.
Grant, James (1803). The narrative of a voyage of discovery, performed in His Majesty's vessel the Lady Nelson, of sixty tons burthen with sliding keels, in the years 1800, 1801, and 1802, to New South Wales. London: T. Egerton. Plate opposite page 135.
Lesson, René (1837). "Histoire Naturelle". In Bougainville, Hyacinthe de (ed.). Journal de la navigation autour du globe, de la frégate La Thétis et de la corvette L'Espérance, pendant les années 1824, 1825 et 1826 : publié par ordre du roi sous les auspices du Département de la marine. Vol. 2. Paris: A. Bertrand. pp. 299–351 [311–318].
Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (January 2021). "Parrots, cockatoos". IOC World Bird List Version 11.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
Peters, James Lee, ed. (1937). Check-List of Birds of the World. Vol. 3. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 173.
Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 85, 159. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
Brown, D.M.; Toft, C.A. (1999). "Molecular systematics and biogeography of the cockatoos (Psittaciformes: Cacatuidae)". Auk. 116 (1): 141–157. doi:10.2307/4089461. JSTOR 4089461.
White, N.E. (2011). "The evolutionary history of cockatoos (Aves: Psittaciformes: Cacatuidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 59: 615–622. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.03.011.
"Gang-gang Cockatoo | BIRDS in BACKYARDS". Retrieved 2019-06-14.
Hughes, Lesley (2005). "Gang-gang Cockatoo - vulnerable species listing". NSW Scientific Committee - final determination. New South Wales Office of Environment & Heritage. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (NSW), Schedule 1: Part 3 Vulnerable species
Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (NSW), s.2.4
Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (NSW), s.1.6
Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (NSW), s.1.6
Brown, Andrew (24 July 2021). "Gang-gang cockatoo set to be listed on threatened species list as endangered". The Canberra Times. The Canberra Times. Retrieved 2 August 2021.

"Gang-gang cockatoo to become threatened species after large drop in bird numbers". the Guardian. 2022-03-01. Retrieved 2022-03-30.

Flegg, Jim (2002). Photographic Field Guide: Birds of Australia. Sydney & London: Reed New Holland. ISBN 1-876334-78-9.

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