The cockatoo is also known as the Velcro bird, is deeply affectionate and attached to its owner. It is also a playful bird with a knack for fun and mischief. Countless bird enthusiasts are fond of it for being a highly sociable and interactive family companion.
Where did cockatoos originate?
There are around twenty-one species of cockatoo parrots. They originated from different places, including Australia, Indonesia, New Guinea, Philippines, and Solomon Islands. The cockatoos have a wide variety of habitats.
Mangroves, rainforests, shrublands, mountain forests, and dry forests are some of the common areas that they inhabit. Other cockatoos also prefer to live in parks, cities, farmlands, and crop fields. There are around 21 species of cockatoos including the red-tailed black cockatoos, moluccan cockatoo, black palm cockatoo, major mitchell cockatoo, sulphur crested cockatoo, yellow-tailed black cockatoo
Are cockatoos endangered?
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed thirteen out of the twenty-one species of cockatoo birds as Least Concerned. One falls under Near Threatened, two as Vulnerable, and three as Endangered. Two of the species namely the Red-vented cockatoo and the yellow-crested cockatoo are listed as Critically Endangered.
How cockatoo looks like
The cockatoo, on average, weighs around 0.3 to 0.9 kg depending on the species. It can grow between 31 and 70 cm in length. It has less vibrant plumage compared to other types of parrots. White is the most common colour in Cockatoo parrots depending on the species.
It may also have different shades of orange, pink, and yellow on its tail or crest. A black and dark grey cockatoo is considered to be a rare species. To tell a cockatoo’s gender, it must be fully matured, which occurs when it is around three to four years old.
A young cockatoo bird has brown eyes, but this changes once it reaches adulthood. A full-grown male cockatoo has black eyes, whilst a female has brown eyes.
Interested in adding a cockatoo to your family? Browse in our For Sale and Rehoming page to find the perfect one for you.
READ: 8 Best Pet Bird Breeds
Cockatoo Cage Size
A small cockatoo’s minimum cage size should be at least 24x36x48 inches. Make sure that the bar spacing is around 3/4 inch to 1 inch. This is to prevent it from getting its head or legs stuck between the bars and getting injured.
Larger cockatoo birds need a more spacious cage, which should have a size of approximately 24x48x48 inches. The bar spacing must be around 1 to 1.5 inches. If you can provide a bigger cage for your cockatoo, the better, as it will have more room to exercise and fly around.
How to Care for a Cockatoo
A cockatoo parrot needs ample amounts of exercise. Thus, allow it to have at least three to four hours of playtime outside its cage. One hour of interaction with you every day is a must as well.
Provide it with lots of toys as it loves to chew things. This will also prevent it from getting bored, which can lead to destructive behaviour such as chewing on the cage’s bars and feather picking.
Cardboard, tree branches, bells, and softwood toys are suitable options for your cockatoo. There are also toys with hanging strands that simulate preening, which is a favourite of cockatoos.
You can go for rope toys as well, provided that it is supervised whilst playing with it. Make sure that the toys are bird-safe and properly secured as they can be a strangulation hazard.
The cockatoo parrot is a diurnal bird, which means it is most active during the day. It needs at least ten to twelve hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. It is important to stick to a proper sleeping schedule. Sudden alterations in sleeping time can cause your pet bird to be cranky and can even lead to stress.
The feathers of a cockatoo are covered in powder down, which is a white powdery coating. It is commonly used for preening. However, the powder can cause respiratory problems to people allergic to birds.
Although you cannot fully get rid of it, there are a few ways to minimise its spreading. This includes washing your hands after handling your cockatoo and giving it a bath at least once a week.
Are cockatoos good pets?
The cockatoo is a very loving and merry bird with a mischievous and comical streak. It fills a home with lots of love and laughter because of its playful and funny antics. It can easily get along with other people as well. Note that interactions with children should be supervised as the cockatoo tends to be very excitable.
What makes a cockatoo parrot so endearing is that it shares an extremely strong bond with its owner. As much as possible, the cockatoo wants to stay close to its human companion. This trait earned it the title of ‘Velcro bird.’
However, its constant need for being together with its owner has its own drawbacks. The cockatoo can be very clingy and requires a great deal of bonding time with its owner. Lack of interaction can lead it to suffer from depression and develop neurotic behaviours.
Another thing to know about the cockatoo is that it is an extremely noisy bird. Some cockatoo species can even be as loud as a 747 jet airliner. Whilst there are several ways to lessen its loudness, you cannot completely get rid of this trait. Thus, it is very important for prospective bird owners to consider their home and lifestyle when having a cockatoo as a pet.
Do cockatoos talk?
The cockatoo bird loves to chatter, but it is less of a talker than other parrot breeds. Generally, it can learn over twenty words and a few simple phrases throughout the years.
During training, it is best to associate words with specific circumstances. For instance, greet it a good morning as soon as you wake up in the morning. This would make it easier for it to learn new words.
What should I feed cockatoos?
Freshwater should be available every day. Change it when the day ends to prevent bacteria contamination in the water. 75 to 80 per cent of your cockatoo’s diet should consist of high-quality pellets.
It should be mixed with a small amount of seeds. Limiting the amount of seeds in its food daily is important as they are full of fats. Too much seeds can lead to nutrient deficiency.
A combination of vegetables and fruits should make up 20 to 25 per cent of its diet. Be sure to wash them well and remove pits or seeds before serving them to your cockatoo. Avoid adding sugar, salt, and other additives to vegetables as well. Below is a list of vegetables and fruits that are safe for your cockatoo to eat:
How long do cockatoos live as pets?
A pet cockatoo has an average lifespan of 25 to 45 years if taken care of properly. Others can even reach the ripe age of seventy or eighty, although it rarely happens.
To help prolong its life, be sure to provide it with a spacious cage, relaxing home environment, a sufficient amount of interaction and exercise, and well-balanced and healthy meals. Health is also a major factor that can greatly affect a cockatoo’s longevity. It is susceptible to a few health issues, including:
- Psittacine beak and feather disease
- Bacterial infection
- Fungal disease
- Feather pulling
Detecting the early symptoms of health problems can greatly help as well. This will allow you to seek immediate medical care from the vet, which lowers the chances of the disease to develop. Oversleeping, lethargy, lack of appetite, weight loss, and discharge on the eyes, ears, or nose are a few hints that your cockatoo may be ill.
Cost of Ownership
How much is a cockatoo?
Getting a healthy and well-bred cockatoo may cost around £500 to over £1,000. Expenses for food may range from £300 to £400 a year. You may need to spend approximately £100–£400 for its cage depending on its size. Costs for buying basic items and supplies, such as carrier, sprays, and food and water bowls, may rack up £40–£70.
The total price for buying stands, perches, and toys is around £40. You may need to budget at least £30 for per session of vet check-ups and £20 for microchipping. If you opt to get pet insurance, monthly fees for a basic package may cost you about £4.32. The price may change depending on what type of cockatoo you own.
Cockatoo Breed Fun Facts
The cockatoo is an extremely vocal bird, especially during morning and early sunset. In fact, its voice is so loud that it can be heard over a mile away.
The cockatoo only mates once a year. It happens between December and March. A research done by a group of scientists from the Max Planck Institute, Oxford University, and the University of Vienna shows that the Tanimbar corella is capable of solving complex mechanical puzzles.