Cockatoo’s all species live in Australia and the islands around Oceania, including the Philippines, Malaysia, the Solomon island, and Wallace’s eastern Indonesian islands to Guinea. They occupy a wide range of habitats, from forests in the Subalpine region to mangroves.
Cockatoos are affectionate and lively birds. When it to comes to talking, they are not as prolific as some of the other parrots. Still, cockatoos do have decent speech capabilities, and they can mimic almost any type of sound, including words.
When it comes to bird pets, cockatoos are very popular with their personalities as dynamic and fleshy as their crest. Cockatoos can bond very easily with their owners and are quite cuddly. However, their need for affection and sociability means cockatoos demand a great deal of time from their owners.
When they are not given the affection they need, Cockatoos become depressed and exhibit neurotic behavior then. They are playful, naughty, intelligent, and can be exceptionally loud. Sometimes cockatoos do not mix well with the young kids as their powerful beak can harm small, prodding hands.
If you have raised your cockatoo properly, then a trained and socialized cockatoo makes a wonderful companion.
Different Species Of Cockatoo Pets
Several cockatoo species are kept as pets, but taking care of these parrot family members is not that easy. Although they sport very attractive plumage, they can be quite noisy and also need lots of attention.
Here are the most common cockatoo types that are kept as pets.
1. Bare-eyed Cockatoo
You might not find them the prettiest parrots, but they make it up because of their personality. Intelligent, playful, and sweet, these cockatoos are smaller than many other species. Bare-eyed cockatoos make it a good option for families with children and those who lack space to accommodate a large parrot.
2. Black Palm Cockatoo
A large, powerful cockatoo that needs a caretaker with ample parrot experience. To keep them tame, they require firm training. As they are bold parrots, they need a bold owner who is not frightened by their massive beaks.
3. Citron Cockatoo
Citron cockatoos are quieter than other species of cockatoos. They have a big personality, and they love to play with their owners. Affectionate and inquisitive, your citron cockatoo will want to be by your side all day long. If you think of buying a citron cockatoo, be ready to spend several hours a day with this bird.
4. Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
Sulfur-crested cockatoos need plenty of space to play, and they are highly intelligent. They resort to their behaviors such as destructive chewing and feather picking when they are given adequate exercise and mental stimulation. Their owners must provide them with plenty of toys and also several hours of attention each day.
5. Goffin’s Cockatoo
Goffin’s Cockatoos are highly intelligent and slightly mischievous; these parrots are recommended to people who have experience with large parrots. For their emotional health, cockatoos need as much daily socialization as possible. If you do not meet their social meets, they will resort to their destructive behaviors.
6. Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo
Major Mitchell’s cockatoo is an intelligent and attractive bird that is famous for its colorful crest. Although these cockatoos are a sight to see, they require specialized care and a large place that not all people can accommodate.
7. Moluccan Cockatoo
Moluccan cockatoos are very affectionate and bond very easily with their owners. If anyone is interested in buying Moluccan cockatoo, he should be ready for cuddles from his feathered friend because they like to be very close with their favorite humans. Also, they need a person who is home for most of the day.
8. Rose-Breasted Cockatoo
Striking gray and pink feathers and friendly personalities make Rose-breasted cockatoo popular pets. If these birds have kept with proper care in captivity, they can live up to 80 years. If you are bringing them home so, do not expect a quiet companion. They are bold and loud.
9. Umbrella Cockatoo
Being highly sociable, umbrella cockatoos tend to be very affectionate, and when they have hand-fed, they become more friendly and well-behaved. Older children make the best option.
10. Slender Billed Cockatoo
Also known as long-billed corellas, slender-billed cockatoos have been very popular pets in their native Australia and have many fans around the world. They have similar needs and requirements as the large parrots. Their caretaker requires proper handling and care to maintain their emotional health.
What Is The Lifespan Of A Cockatoo?
If you are thinking of bringing a cockatoo to your home, be ready for a lifetime commitment. Just like other parrots, they also have a very long life, and they will be your companions for years.
1. Goffin’s Cockatoo Lifespan
It is one of the smallest species of cockatoo out there. However, there is little data available on their lifespan. Goffin’s cockatoos are considered one of the less long-lived species. Some sites list their lifespan as 26, while others say it is 65.
Probably, it is fair to assume that with your proper care and dose of luck, it is not unrealistic to assume that your feathered friend could be around for at least 25 years.
2. Moluccan Cockatoo Lifespan
Moluccan cockatiels are very similar in looks to umbrella cockatiels, but they have a pinkish tinge rather than start white feathers. Also, their lifespans are very similar.
They are generally reported to live for about 70 years in captivity. The average lifespan of Moluccan cockatoo (also known as Salmon-crested cockatoo) is 40-60 years.
3. Umbrella Cockatoo Lifespan
Umbrella cockatoos (also known as white cockatoo) are one of the species with an amazing lifespan. In captivity, they have been reported to live up to 60 years, as documented in the zoos’ reports. While in the wild, they live a decade shorter.
4. Sulphur Crested Cockatoo Lifespan
Well cared and maintained Sulphur-crested cockatoos have a lifespan of about 65 years, and in very fortune and rare cases, they can survive for around 120 years.
5. Rose-Breasted Cockatoo Lifespan
Also known as Galah cockatoos, they are famous for their lovely pink coloration. When it comes to their lifespan, they have a pretty impressive lifespan. With proper care and a big dose of luck, your rose-breasted cockatoo will even make it up to 80 years
Things To Consider When Choosing A Cockatoo
Commonly three types of cockatoo species are kept as pets- black, white, and gray roseate. White cockatoos are the most popular type, while other types require more specialized care and knowledge. If you are going to buy a cockatoo, consider the following points to choose a healthy one.
- It must be alert and bright-eyed.
- Have a clean vent area.
- There are no signs of discharge from the eyes and nose.
- They should have smooth feathers, flush to the body, and not be fluffed up.
- They must have no signs of breathing problems.
- They are fluent in movements with no signs of lethargy.
How Long Do Cockatoos Live in the Wild?
Not all cockatoos are kept as pets. May cockatoos live in the wild within their home range of Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. Freely roaming cockatoos tend to have a shorter lifespan than the ones captive as pets. They live an average life of 40 years in the forests.
Their lifespan is quite shorter in the forests as they have to face many environmental factors such as predators, infections, and diseases there.
Factors That Affects Cockatoo Lifespan
You might be wondering how you can improve the lifespan of your feathered companion. The first thing to consider is that several factors contribute to the improvement of cockatoos’ lifespan.
1. Diet Matters
Diet is the most important thing when you want to improve your cockatoo’s lifespan. A well-balanced diet with proper nutrition is required. You might think many things are healthy and feeding them to your cockatoo is not healthy at all for them. A diet full of nuts is not enough for their proper nutrition.
It would help if you consulted your bird’s veterinarian to find exactly what your cockatoo should feed. Depending on cockatoo’s current health and age, they need a specific diet. More than likely, their diet should include kale, blueberries, fresh lettuce, carrots, and other fruits and vegetables.
2. Getting Enough Exercise
Make sure your cockatoo is getting enough exercise to increase their lifespan. Just like humans, they also need to move around throughout the day, every day. Your bird should be out of its cage for at least 3 hours every day, and some species even need more time out.
They can exercise more when they are out of their cage, walk on the floor, and fly around. You can let them play around on their perches, and getting them a ladder and ropes to climb on is also a good idea.
Encouraging your cockatoo to flap their wings by training them is also good for their physical activity. You can train them to flap and lift their wings on your command. Try to teach them by lifting your arms so they can mimic you.
In addition to these exercises, swings and toys in your cockatoo’s cage is also a good idea. You can also try other activities for your cockatoos to get more exercise.
3. More Social Interactions
We know very well that cockatoos are sociable birds, and they love to get attention and affection.
It is totally up to you to ensure that your cockatoo is getting enough social interaction every day. They are intelligent and need social interactions as we do.
Cockatoos like to play, jabber, and talk to their owners and also to other birds. So, to provide them a social interaction is what you have to put time for every day. The more social interaction they get, the better it is for their mental health.
General Care for your Cockatoo
You have to put out some time for your cockatoo every day. To make them happy and comfortable, you can do many things such as:
Care and Feeding
The basic diet of cockatoo consists of large hook-bill seeds mixed with supplements of sprouted seeds, and all sorts of vegetables and fruits are also suitable.
You can offer occasional proteins like cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, cooked meat bones, canned dog food, and bits of cheese. Avoid highly seasoned and fatty processed meats.
Other supplements like minerals and vitamins are not necessary if you are giving a varied diet to your cockatoo.
Fresh Water Supply
Fresh drinking water should be given to cockatoos every day.
Cockatoos are very clean, and they preen themselves regularly. Cockatoos produce a great amount of dust which helps them in keeping their skin and wings healthy. However, a weekly shower or bath is good for their hygiene. But, for birds, bathing is their individual preference as some love to stand in the rain while some dive for cover when it rains.
Cockatoos will need their owner’s assistance if they are not partnered with another bird. You have to scratch their feathers lightly in the direction to the top of their heads, their neck area, and other areas where they cannot reach.
If you do not want to lose your pet, you should have to keep their wings trimmed to discourage their flight.
To keep your cockatoo’s nail trimmed, you can buy from the variety of perches available that help in it. But, if they have overgrown, you need to trim them.
It is better to provide a large enclosure to your cockatoo. An ideal bird cage should be at least 3 flight wingspans of the bird in size. Smaller cages are deleterious unless cockatoo has freedom outside the cage. Larger cages are essential for larger cockatoo species.
It would be better if horizontal bars are present in the cage as cockatoos need to climb. When buying a cage, keep in mind the strength of cockatoo’s beaks that can bend bars and pop the cages’ joints. For the additional safety of your pet, a snap-lock is important.
Try to place organic material perches and avoid plastic ones as cockatoos love to chew on them, and plastic can be harmful. Also, try to place food and water dishes away from perches, so it does not become soiled with bird droppings.
Cockatoos are friendly, so you must have to house them in the room that gets visited frequently by the family members.
In basic cage care, daily cleaning of food and water dishes and wiping off the feather’s dust from the perches and bars is included. Replace the soiled litter and change bottom trays twice weekly. Wash all the perches and toys weekly and disinfect the cage after cleaning every month to maintain cleanliness
As in the wild, birds live together in the flocks. So, when we captive them, it is important to make sure that they are not feeling alone. If you are keeping a single cockatoo, you need to put extra time out for them to share your affection. It is best to keep cockatiels in pairs as they go fine with another bird in their companionship. The only drawback to keep them in pair is that it will be much noisy.
In Case Of Emergency
Cockatoos are very much concerned for their good. Keeping a saved number of trustworthy veterinarians to consult at any emergency time is very important not to stress them.
How To Increase Your Cockatoo Lifespan In Captivity?
By considering and keeping in mind the factors mentioned above, you can increase your cockatoo’s lifespan in your captivity, and they will be around you for years then. First things to maintain include their diet and sociability. These two factors, if not taken properly, can lead to risk your cockatoo’s health. A balanced diet and lots of affection and attention by their owner is what birds like cockatoos need to live a happy and healthy life.
Parrots like cockatoos make the best choice for the pet that will be around you for years. Cockatoos have an impressive lifespan, i.e., around 40 – 70 years on average. Many cockatoos make it up to 100 years also. Still, cockatoos need to be cared for a lot by their owners. So make sure you are giving them the full attention they want from you.
I have been lived and raised in Michigan. Waters and pets are always close to my heart. I own many pets including dogs and cats since my childhood. Therefore, I have the experience of years of working with pets. During the whole time, I experienced a lot of different pet behaviours. Therefore, I embarked on a journey to tell all the other pet owners about better management of their pets. I have also visited and volunteered at a pet centre in Michigan. I love to educate people and myself about having a better relationship with their pets.