Scientific Name -
300 - 1100 gm.
Size: Approximately 12-13 inches in length.
Distinct Markings: Overall white with yellow in the under
side of the tail and wings. Pink under feathers in the lore
area. Eye ring, beak, and feet light greyish-blue.
Life Span: maximum unknown but possible up to 60 years.
Age at maturity: Small species 1-2 years medium species
- 2-4 years large species - 3-5 years.
Cockatoos are recognized by their colors, generally white,
pink or black. They all have crests which may be recumbent
(lie down on back of head when not erect) or recurved (curl
upward in back). Cockatoos are medium to large sized parrots.
They have patches of down feathers on their flanks which
produce powder (powder down) which help to keep their plumage
soft and clean.
are affectionate and highly intelligent birds. Cockatoos
are excellent companion birds for those who want a charming,
loving bird which likes to cuddle. Cockatoos can be very
demanding of attention and if they are deprived of attention
can become very noisy and destructive or turn to plucking
or self mutilation behavior. Imprinted cockatoos may become
possessive of their owners which can lead to unpredictable
or aggressive behavior towards other people.
are playful and inquisitive and love to chew objects in
their surroundings. They should always be provided with
toys, or branches which they can chew. In order to ensure
safety companion cockatoos should not be allowed unsupervised
freedom in the home as they often encounter toxins or dangerous
items. Young cockatoos should be socialized to many people
and exposed to a variety of situations such as new cages,
toys, visits to the veterinarian, handling by friends and
wing and nail clippings to avoid fear of novel situations.
bathing or showering is vital to maintaining good plumage
and skin condition. Birds can be misted and allowed to dry
in a warm room or in the sun, or dried with a blow drier.
Care should be taken not to clip the wing feathers excessively
as cockatoos often fall and injure themselves. Clip only
enough so the bird will glide to the
companion and breeding birds should be individually identified
to assist in recovery if lost and assist in maintenance
of medical and genealogical records. Many breeders apply
closed leg bands when chicks are young. While they present
a slight risk of entrapment closed bands are preferable
to no identification, especially for breeding birds. Microchips
which can be implanted into the muscle or under the skin
are a reliable means of identification but require electronic
readers to verify identification. Tattoos may be used but
often fade or become illegible with time. Foot prints may
have some application in identification.
of the white cockatoos species can be sexed by eye color
when mature, The eyes of the female are red while the eyes
of the male are dark brown or black. In moluccan cockatoos
the eye color can only be differentiated with a bright light.
In some species of black cockatoos the feather coloration
varies with the sex. In some species, young birds and some
individuals, sexing by endoscopy or laboratory methods may
are very active and should be provided the largest cage
that space and budget allows. As cockatoos are strong chewers,
durable cage construction in very important. Many are also
adept at opening cage latches. Locks or escape proof latches
may be necessary on cages. Cage design or management for
breeders should also take into consideration techniques
for reducing mate aggression.
Bare-Eyed Cockatoos should be fed a formulated (pelleted
or extruded diet) as a basis for good nutrition. The diet
should be supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables
daily to add variety and psychological enrichment. Treats
maybe given in small amounts especially as rewards for good
species of cockatoos are very efficient in utilizing calories.
If overfed they may become obese especially when handrearing.
Juvenile cockatoos are notoriously picky eaters and don't
seem to need much food to maintain themselves. Try to ensure
that the food that they do eat is nutritious. Some cockatoos,
such palm cockatoos need large quantities and higher fat
foods. Rosebreasted cockatoos have a tendency toward obesity
and may need caloric restriction to maintain optimum weight.
supplements are not needed for birds which are eating a
formulated diet. For Conversion see our brochure on; Converting
your seed eating bird to a formulated diet.
Cockatoos breed well in captivity and several species are
bred commonly in the United States. Some species, like the
black cockatoos are difficult to breed.
North America cockatoos breed predominantly in the winter
and spring. Some pairs may produce year round. Clutch size
is typically 1 to 3 eggs.
Nest Box: variable size and type depending on the species.
Double entrance boxes are often used to reduce the chance
of the male trapping the female in the box.
Cage size: variable depending on the size of the bird. Cage
construction and management must take into consideration
techniques to reduce mate aggression.
breeding cockatoos, noise and proximity to neighbors must
be considered. If housed outdoors cockatoos often call at
night during a full moon. In southern states outdoor caging
must be protected from opossums to prevent exposure to the
parasite Sarcocystis falcatula. Males wings should be clipped
in the fall (before breeding season) to reduce ability to
attack the hen.
Common Diseases And Disorders -
Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease
Juvenile chewing of flight feathers and tail
Poor eating habits - picky eaters
Obesity - Lipomas (some species)
Bacterial and fungal infections
Toxicity, ingestion of metals
common health problems of cockatoos and be prevented by
a good diet, nutrition and routine health care. Routine
veterinary examination (annually) can help you to keep your
pet in excellent health and enhance your relationship with
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