Native to Oceania and Indonesia, the Cockatoo is a very expressive bird that requires a lot of attention and lives long. Let’s go back to its history, its diet and its health.

You can see the Sulfur-crested Cockatoo in many funny videos circulating on the Web. There are many other species of Cockatoo , just as interesting to discover and breed. What are their characteristics and needs ?


Several species of parrots , large psittaciformes native to Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia, are called cockatoos .

Most of these birds are recognizable by their very lively feather crest or hoopoe .

Cockatoos form, with the elegant Cockatiel , the subfamily Cacatuines . The latter is subdivided into 3 tribes:

  • The calyptorhynchinae : they are Cockatoo dark plumage (brown, gray, black …). Red-headed Cockatoo, Black Cockatoo, Banksian Cockatoo, Latham Cockatoo, Funeral Cockatoo, White-fronted Cockatoo and Baudin’s Cockatoo are some of them.
  • The Cacatuini : this tribe Cockatoo bright plumage (white, gray …) includes the Sulfur-crested Cockatoo, but also the proboscis monkey Cockatoo, the Corella, the cockatoo corella, the Cockatoo Goffin, the Cockatoo Ducorps the Cockatoos of Philippines, Sulfur Cockatoo, Blue-eyed Cockatoo, Red-crested Cockatoo and White Cockatoo.
  • The genus Nymphicus : it consists of the only elegant cockatiel

These birds need to stay active , play and have quality interactions with the humans who care for them. Very intelligent and curious , they are also particularly expressive and sometimes very noisy , both by their cries and by the human expressions they are able to repeat. Of aggressive behavior are also observed, especially from the male to the female in the Sulfur-crested Cockatoo. Their taming and education therefore require a lot of skill and patience .


As explained above, the origins of the Cockatoo are mainly located on the Indonesian archipelago and in Oceania. The genus Cacatua was identified by French ornithologist Louis Pierre Vieillot in 1817.

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Some species have been described from the late 18 th century , while others have been much later, like the proboscis monkey Cockatoo by German zoologist Heinrich Kuhl in 1820 and Parakeet Cockatiel by Johann Georg Wagler in 1832.

Feeding a cockatoo

Cockatoos are omnivorous . In their natural environment, these birds feed on seeds , fruits , flowers , herbs , bulbs and even insects .

In captivity, they can be given commercially available meatballs , consisting of dried exotic fruits, agglomerated seeds and granules. A diet to supplement with seeds as treats , fresh fruits and vegetables , cooked beans (never raw), spinach and meticulously washed cabbage leaves .

Life of a cockatoo

The average life expectancy of a Cockatoo is around 50 to 60 years . It is therefore very long and the acquisition of such a bird should not be done on a whim. It is a great responsibility .

Moreover, the word “cockatoo” refers to this longevity , since it comes from the Malaysian term kakat? Wa, consisting of the expressions “kaka” (crow) and “t? Wa”, which means “old”.

Also read: “Parakeet”

Cockatoo diseases

Among the diseases likely to affect the Cockatoo, let us mention polyomavirosis , caused by a virus (polyomavirus) to which newborns are particularly vulnerable. Antibodies in healthy adults are usually strong enough to overcome them.

In Cockatoo also plagued the paramyxovirus responsible for nervous disorders , the Pacheco (or herpes) transmitted by ingestion of feces, leading to a fatal hepatitis , as well as psittachose . The latter is a zoonosis , since humans can be infected by inhaling the droppings of infected birds.


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