Gang-gang Cockatoos are primarily slate-grey. The male is easily identified by its scarlet head and wispy crest, while the female has a grey head and crest and feathers edged with salmon pink on the underbelly. They range in length from 32 to 37 cm, and a wingspan of 62 to 76 cm.
The Gang-gang ockatoo is distributed from southern Victoria through south- and central-eastern New South Wales. In New South Wales, the Gang-gang Cockatoo is distributed from the south-east coast to the Hunter region, and inland to the Central Tablelands and south-west slopes. It occurs regularly in the Australian Capital Territory. It is rare at the extremities of its range, with isolated records known from as far north as Coffs Harbour and as far west as Mudgee.
During summer, the Gang-gang Cockatoo may be found in tall mountain forests and woodlands, with dense shrubby understoreys where during the warm parts of the day they rest in leafy trees, but during rain and snow showers they may perform aerobatics. In winter they move to lower altitudes into drier, more open forests and woodlands.
Gang-gangs feed in flocks of up to 60 birds outside of the breeding season, they feed in pairs or small family groups during the breeding season.
They have a preference for eucalypts, wattles and introduced hawthorn but will also eat berries, fruits, nuts and insects and their larvae.
Gang-gang Cockatoos form monogamous pairs. Old growth forest and woodland are needed for nesting and roosting as they like other cockatoos require hollows that are 10 cm in diameter or larger.
At breeding time the female will choose a nest hollow in a suitable tree and both male and female prepare the nest, lining it with wood-chips and dust by chewing at the sides of the hollow. Both incubate the two eggs and feed the young that stay with the family group during the breeding season. Where several pairs have nested close together, ‘crèches’ may be formed -and the young will roost together in the same tree while their parents are foraging.
Gang-gang Cockatoos are listed as vulnerable in NSW and have a lifespan of 20 years in the wild
Field guide to Australian Birds.
Field Guide to the Birds of Australia.