Planting for Ngoolark safety

Just as important as the right type of tree, is planting in the right locations. Black cockatoos are big birds, so when they take flight, it takes them a while to gain height (like planes); this is dangerous if they are flying out of bushes or small trees right beside busy roads, as they may not be able to gain enough height to clear the traffic.

To protect Ngoolarks, when planting any plants that they like to eat (see the list below), follow these recommendations about planting setback distances from road verges:

  • In quiet suburban streets (speed limit 50km/hr or less), plant at least 3-5m back from road verges.
  • For busy roads (speed limit higher than 50km/hr), plant at least 10m from road verges.
  • Never plant black cockatoo food plants on median strips; this is too dangerous for the birds.
pin cushion hakea


  • Slender banksia (Banksia attenuata)
  • Swamp banksia (Banksia littoralis)
  • Firewood banksia (Banksia menziesii)
  • Acorn banksia (Banksia prionotes)
  • Oak-leaved banksia (Banksia quercifolia)
  • Showy banksia (Banksia speciosa)
  • Parrot bush (Banksia sessilis)


Larger trees

  • Marri (Cormbia calophylla)
  • Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata)
  • Coastal blackbutt or Pricklybark (Eucalyptus todtiana)
  • Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster)
  • Radiata pine (Pinus radiata)
  • Macadamia (Macadamia integrifolia)



  • Two-leaved hakea (Hakea trifurcata)
  • Wavy-leaved hakea (Hakea undulata)


Top tips

  • Plant local species, particularly banksia and hakea
  • Plant all Ngoolark food plants away from road verges, driveways and median strips
  • Provide safe water options for all native birds

And don’t forget water!

Ngoolarks need access to clean fresh water, particularly as Perth’s climate gets hotter. Ngoolarks will drink out of ponds, water troughs and garden bird baths, so if you have water sources, make sure they are regularly topped up with clean fresh water. Avoid having water sources close to places where Ngoolarks could get injured (they will drink rain-water out of pot-holes in driveways, roads and car parks, so these should always be filled in). For more information, see ‘the Value of Water’ tab.


Contact us

If you would like to know more about black cockatoos and how you can help them, please contact us.