Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

The sulphur-crested cockatoo measures 50cm and has pure-white plumage and yellow patches on its cheeks and a yellow crest. It also has yellow tips to its tail feathers and the underside of its wing feathers. Its beak and legs are a dark grey. The white skin is unfledged around the eyes. Males have black-brown irises, while in the female these are reddish-brown.


As with all cockatoos it is essential for the sulphur-crested cockatoo to have a partner. However, because of its size, its extremely strong beak and its particular behaviour, this partner must be another cockatoo. People cannot be a substitute for another bird, as cockatoos enjoy company 24 hours a day. Birds kept alone will stick like a bur to their owners and screech loudly if they feel left alone. Hand-reared offspring will become extremely tame if kept as a pair.

A pair of birds need a cage for sleep and recreation measuring at least 1m x 1m x 1m and it should be let out to fly on a daily basis. The cage must be made of strong metal otherwise the cockatoo will snap the bars in two. The sulphur-crested cockatoo will remain very close to its cage, even when let out to fly as it does not like to venture too far away. A tree for climbing and playing erected near the roof is a good idea as the bird likes to gnaw and even pieces of wood centimetres thick can be broken up into little pieces with its strong beak.

Windows and door frames cannot withstand the power of its beak, but cockatoos do tend to focus on their own tree, giving full vent to their desire to crunch. You should furnish the cage itself sparingly so the plumage is not worn away by constant rubbing up against items. A heavy metal container for food and one for water and two to three thick perches made from hardwood will be sufficient. If possible, provide a sleeping and nesting box (even for same-sex pairs), the bird can retire to at night. Bird sand can be placed in a container or strewn on the floor.

TRILL™ parrot food with a variety of seed mixture is the cockatoo's staple diet. However, they also love fruit and vegetables such as carrots, bananas, oranges, cherries, apples, corn, figs and grapes. Branches with leaves, bark, flowers or fruit from fruit trees, willows, poplars or berry trees will be attacked with relish.


Name: Sulphur-crested cockatoo
Family: Cockatoo
Origin: Arid and wet forests, Tasmania and King Island
Size: Large and strong
Care: Demanding
Temperament: Affectionate, jealous, loving
Call: Loud and piercing
Features: Will form life-long relationships with one partner