The Cockatoo

Quick Facts

- Best for experienced owners
- Best solo or in pairs
- Medium size
- Medium activity level
- Medium Trainability
- Medium sociability with people

Cockatoos are parrots. They are originally from Australia and the Islands of the South Pacific Ocean. There are many different types of Cockatoos; they are divided into two classifications; lesser and greater. The most commonly seen Cockatoos as pets are the greater Sulfur Crested, lesser Sulfur Crested, Umbrella, Moluccan, Goffin's, Galarita, Triton and the Eleonora.

Cockatoos are sociable affectionate birds. They are best suited for experienced owners as they can be excitable and demanding. They are intelligent, clever and can be taught to do tricks and mimic human speech. Cockatoos need at least a couple hours of daily attention and activity, without it they can become bored and depressed and prone to behavioural problems. The have excellent problem solving skills, and enjoy puzzles and games. They are expert escape artists.

Cockatoos have loud raucous voices and can be very noisy; they are not a good choice for apartment dwellers as they may disturb the neighbours. When tame, they are affectionate and enjoy contact with their owner. They can be very one personish if not well socialized and may be aggressive with strangers. They can be excitable, and are not the best choice for households with young children. If not well trained, they can be dominant and aggressive, and may bite.

Cockatoos enjoy having a large cage with lots of perches and toys. Smaller Cockatoos need a cage that is at least 24 x 36 x 48 inches, while large Cockatoos need a cage that is at least 24 x 48 x 48 inches. Their cage should be very sturdy and is best made of stainless steel or wrought iron. They love to chew and should be given an assortment of toys to play with and gnaw on; toys like ropes, bells, softwood chew toys and tanned leather are always appreciated. They should have both hanging toys and toys they can pick up with their feet.

Cockatoos need time out of their cage each day. However, whenever they are out of their cage they should be carefully supervised as they are destructive chewers that may ruin furniture or walls, or may chew on electrical cords and electrocute themselves. They tend to be messy birds that like to toss their food around. Cockatoos are not a good choice for allergy or asthma suffers as they produce a fine feather dust that easily spreads throughout the house.

Appearance and Care:
Cockatoos are medium to large sized birds that measure 12-27 inches from head to tail. They come in a variety of colours.

Like all birds, Cockatoos require regular bathing. They should be supplied with a shallow dish of warm water every couple of days to splash around in. Some Cockatoos prefer a warm mist shower instead of a bath.

Health and Diet:
When well cared for, Cockatoos have long life spans; greater Cockatoos usually live around 80 years, while the lesser Cockatoos usually live around 40 years. They are prone to internal parasites, bacterial infections, dry skin, Vitamin A deficiency, giarda and zinc poisoning. An ill Cockatoo may become inactive and have a decrease in appetite, it may have noisy breathing, ruffled feathers, cloudy eyes, weight loss and sneeze often. At the first sign of illness, Cockatoos should be taken to their veterinarian.

A balanced diet is an essential part of maintaining a Cockatoos good health. They require a diet of good quality bird pellets and fresh fruits and vegetables; their diet should be 50% pellets and 50% fruits and vegetables. Most Cockatoos enjoy apples, bananas, lettuce, dandelions, berries, melons, nuts, grapes, pears, corn on the cob and oranges.


Located in: Birds