30- 46 cm
0,2 – 0,9 kg
10 – 60 years
varies depending on species
Suitable as:
FCI groups:
!-fci groups-!
large aviary, in pairs, climbing facilities, daylight
800 – 2500 €
Suitability for beginners
Language talent


Breed History And Origin

Cockatoos or Cakatoeinae originate from Australia and form a separate family within parrots with six genera and 21 species. Cockatoos are also found on some neighboring islands or island groups such as Tasmania, Solomon Islands, New Guinea, as well as in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Most commonly known and kept as pets are the Yellow-cheeked Cockatoos and the White-crested Cockatoos.

The word “cockatoo” is said to come from the Malay language and translates to “pincher”. Anyone who has ever felt the strong beak of a cockatoo will agree with this translation.

Appearance Of The Cockatoo

Among the most popular parrot species are the cockatoos. They have a movable feather hood, which is erected mainly when excited or attentive.

A slender feathered hood rests on their head, which is quite pronounced for parrots, and erects into a fan when excited.

Their hooked and extremely strong beak, the lower part of which has transverse notches, is used to break open hard food. They can not only open and close it, but also move it sideways.

Hardly any other large parrot species can do as much damage with its beak as cockatoos. With ease, they take apart objects such as conventional plastic food bowls, chop up perches, and bend the bars of standard parrot cages, cracking open the sweats.

As with all parrots, the first and fourth toes of their feet point backward, and the second and third point forward: they use the foot like a pair of grasping pincers with which they can deftly hold objects and guide them to their beaks.

Cockatoos reach body lengths of 30 to 80 cm. Males usually grow slightly larger than females, but differ little from them in appearance.

The color varies depending on the species. Depending on the species, cockatoos have white, pale pink, black or gray plumage with often bright splashes of yellow, red or pink on the wings, head or cheeks.

The movable feather hood is erected especially when excited or alert.

Character And Nature

Cockatoos are the clowns among parrots. In the wild, they can often be seen hanging upside down from branches and performing all sorts of tricks. They are on the move all day long.

Cockatoos are extremely sociable and social. Outside of the breeding season, they congregate in small groups or in large flocks of several hundred.

Most cockatoos have a very loud and piercing voice. Because of their powerful voice, cockatoos produce a wide range of sounds such as screeches, whistles, or croaks.

Even though they are not as talented in speech as gray parrots, they imitate the human voice excellently. However, they are only able to imitate human sounds and noises like parrots in the wild.

When foraging in a flock, they have developed an unusual warning system. While a large part of the flock is feeding, some animals can be observed positioned as sentinels in exposed places. From there, they observe the surroundings, emit shrill alarm calls when a potential enemy appears and thus warn the feeding conspecifics.

As strictly monogamous birds, pairs usually stay together for their entire lives. Males and females together take care of the several months lasting rearing of the young, which are hatched and grow up in tree hollows.

Habitats Of The Cockatoo

Habitats of the Great Yellow-crested Cockatoo are the tropical rainforest, coastal regions and open woodlands with trees.

Cockatoos live primarily in the trees of the rainforests, semi-deserts and dry savannas of their native habitat. Some species prefer grasslands with sparse forest cover or mountains several thousand meters above sea level as habitat, others can also be found in large cities such as Melbourne or Sydney.

Keeping The Cockatoo

In human care, the cockatoo looks for a caregiver as a young bird. The bird becomes so affectionate and tame that separation is hardly possible without harm to the cockatoo.

For the caregiver there are serious obligations. You have to care for the cockatoo extensively every day, which means investing a lot of time to take over the partner role for the bird.

Birds kept singly usually choose only one caregiver. The choice is made by the bird, and it cannot be influenced by any trick. The bird will then defend its caregiver, and it may attack other family members if they approach.

Cockatoos are curious, intelligent and are attracted to their humans. They become very tame, but tend to be jealous and hostile to “competition”.

Better give him a mate of his own kind. This is already in your own interest, because otherwise you will not have a quiet minute.

Adult cockatoos are notorious for their sudden, unpredictable mood changes. One second you’re petting him, the next you’re tending to a bleeding wound.

When playing or cuddling, sometimes it just happens that the bird goes a little too far in its enthusiasm. This is not aggressiveness, but no less painful because of it.

Diet And Care

Cockatoos are almost exclusively herbivores, feeding primarily on nuts, eucalyptus seeds and fruits, but also tubers, bulbs and roots. Some species use insect larvae living in the trees as an additional source of protein.

To break open hard food, they use their hooked and extremely strong beak, the lower part of which has transverse notches that allow them to hold onto seeds and nuts.

In addition, cockatoos have an enormous amount of maintenance.

Health And Typical Diseases

Your birds are threatened. Humidity levels in apartment housing are usually far too low. There is a great risk of the birds contracting lung disease if proper techniques are not used to ensure adequate humidity.

Life Expectancy Of The Cockatoo

The large cockatoos, like some parrot species, have a very high life expectancy and can live to well over a hundred years in captivity.

Buying A Cockatoo

Cockatoos are expensive. A cockatoo costs from 800 euros upwards. Since keeping them singly is out of the question, you should buy a pair. If you buy a pair from a reputable breeder, you have rather about 2,500 euros for the animals to estimate.

In order to offer the animals a halfway bearable living space, you need an outdoor aviary. In addition, you need a really large cage for short-term accommodation, for example, for transport to the vet or a short-term repair to the aviary. A cheap aviary costs in the self-build still also their 1,000 euros.

If your cockatoo gets sick once, more than 500 Euros are quickly spent, especially if you have two animals and the second one of course also needs to be at least examined, if not also treated.

If your budget is already exhausted by the purchase of the animals and the accessories, then you have not calculated correctly. Take therefore once 500 euros a year for the veterinarian.

Cockatoos are not stingy with food, a high part is lost unused. Grains and vegetables must be offered fresh daily. Expect about 300 euros in feed costs per year.

With the loud and shrill voice of cockatoos, you should live very lonely or have exceptionally tolerant neighbors if you want to get cockatoos.

Decision Guide

As pets, these birds are very tame and affectionate. Because of their headstrong personalities, cockatoos are completely unsuitable as cuddly pets for children.

Since caring for a cockatoo is very time consuming, cockatoos should only be purchased in pairs from the start. Like all parrots, a cockatoo needs a preferably opposite-sex mate. In Germany and Austria it is even required by law.

A human can never replace a partner for the bird, there is a risk of false imprints and behavioral disorders. With wrong treatment it comes easily to disturbances like continuous screaming and plucking. Cockatoos therefore belong only in experienced hands.

The larger species have no problem bending the bars of normal parrot cages and cracking open the sweats. The cage doors must therefore be specially secured.

FAQ About Cockatoo

How much does a Cockatoo cost?

A Cockatoo costs between 800 and 2,500 euros.

How old does Cockatoo get?

Depending on their size, Cockatoo lives between 10 and 60 years.

How much does a Cockatoo cost?

Cockatoo costs between 800 and 2,500 euros.

What does a Cockatoo look like?

Cockatoo have white, pale pink or black-gray plumage. Her flexible spring bonnet, which straightens up when excited is very striking.

What does a Cockatoo eat?

Cockatoo eat seeds, fruits, nuts and parrot seeds.

How big is a Cockatoo?

Cockatoo grows between 30 and 50 cm.

Cockatoo: How expensive?

Depending on the size, a Cockatoo cost between 800 and 2,500 euros.

Where does Cockatoo name from?

The word Cockatoo is said to come from the Malay language. Translated it means pincers. Since the Cockatoo has a very strong beak, the word meaning can probably be traced back to it.

What is a Cockatoo?

Cockatoos are family of birds belonging to the parrot order.


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