Western Australia’s beautiful Carnaby Black Cockatoo actually has feathers with varying shades of brown, grey and black as shown in this photograph by fellow artist Brenton See.
They are a distinctive bird and as familiar to Western Australians as the red earth of our deserts and turquoise blue of our crashing waved coastlines.
It turns out that one of Western Australia’s favourite Cockatoo’s is severely endangered – so much so that they may become extinct as early as 2029 – only 10 years away!
“Calyptorhynchus Latirostris are found mostly within the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, where the limits of its range include Cape Arid to the east, Lake Cronin, Hatters Hill and Lake Moore inland, and Kalbarri to the north.
However breeding takes place in areas of higher rainfall. They are most commonly found in Wandoo or Salmon Gum woodlands.
For breeding they need tall well-spaced trees, where they nest in hollows generally about 5.7 metres (19+ft) above the ground.
Recently the total population was estimated to consist of 40,000 individuals, but it had declined by 50% on the Perth–Peel Coastal Plain in just 6 years due to a decrease in this breeding habitat.
They primarily feed on the seeds of Banksias, Hakeas and Grevilleas.”Don Miller
“This painting was a finalist in the Hedland Art Awards of 2016.
While joyful in colour, it is actually about a sad topic.
While I had started the painting as some pretty colourful Banksia flowers and pods – an old school friend messaged to say that I should consider putting some Caranaby Black Cockatoo’s in the piece.
Her daughter Ruth had been studying the birds in primary school and had written a 4 minute speech about Carnaby’s.
I decided that as part of my entry, I would get a recording of Ruth giving her talk which viewers could then listen to on headphones in the Gallery.”Helen Ansell
Sun Setting on the Carnaby’s is now available for purchase as part of the Helen Ansell Fine Art Print Collection.