Cockatoos are large parrots with moveable crests on their heads. They raise and fan these when excited; they also raise and lower their crests to show their mood.
Cockatoos come in many varieties, such as: Major Mitchell, Galah or Rose Breasted, Greater Sulphur Crested, Medium Sulphur Crested, Lesser Sulphur Crested, Yellow-tailed Black, Citron, Umbrella, Moluccan, the Goffin and the Bare Eyed Cockatoo. However, the cockatoos basically fall into two categories and these are, white and black.
Australia has the best representation of cockatoos, but a there are a few species in New Guinea, The Philippines and Indonesia. The Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo and the Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo are two of the most famous.
It is said that the cockatoos are the most intelligent of the parrot family. They are great pets, as they love to be touched and scratched on the back of their necks. Cockatoos can also be very funny to watch, and just love to examine any new objects put in their cages. They are also quite clever when it comes to unlocking their cages, as you can see in our cockatoo video link.
Cockatoos also make popular pets because they are able to imitate human speech, and some cockatoos have a vocab of up to 600 words. We don’t know why these birds are able to mimic people. It doesn’t seem to happen in the wild birds but does in the cockatoos reared as pets. The human reared cockatoos are also able to scream and screech loudly. This can tell you that they are having fun, but a sad cockatoo is able to scream and screech too!
Sulphur-crested cockatoos feed on berries, seeds, flowers, bulbs, roots and insect larvae. When they are feeding, a couple of the flock will act as a lookout to warn the others of danger. During on a hot afternoon, cockatoos can be seen playing with the bark on trees, by pulling it off to find spiders.
They are very strong fliers and can travel 15 to 25 kms between their roost and their feeding area. They very rarely leave their roost unless there is no food around.
Sulphur-crested male and female cockatoos look similar, except for their eye colour, the male's is black, and the female's is reddish. They nest in hollows in old, large trees, near water. They mate for life, and generally breed in the springtime. They can lay up to six white eggs, but the usual number is about two to three. The male bird feeds his mates and helps with the rearing of the chicks, which usually hatch after 30 days. The chicks can become fledglings from 60 to 90 days old.
The Cockatoos live the longest from all of the parrot variety, the cockatoos live the longest and can live as long as humans. There are documented cases of Cockatoos, which have lived into their 50's and even 80s.
Length 450 - 500 mm
Survival Status: Possibly Endangered
Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo
These very large cockatoos are mainly found in coastal areas in Australia, from Rockhampton, Queensland, to Tasmania, and west to South Australia. The male has black feathers with a yellow tinge on the edge, yellow panels on their tails, a small yellow patch on the cheek and a brown eye surrounded by pink skin. These cockatoos have an impressive "Elvis" looking crest on their head. The female has a larger brighter patch on the cheek, with a grey eye surrounded by grey skin, and their tail panels are orange or yellow. These long tails are about half the bird’s length.
They spend most of their time up in trees and they use their bills to get the seeds from nuts. They also eat pine, fruit, Banksia and hakea seeds. Just like the sulphur-crested cockatoo, these birds can peel back tree bark to eat spiders and wood-boring insect larvae.
Breeding happens in spring in the Southeast, and generally in winter in the north. Unlike the sulphur-crested cockatoo, the female alone incubates two eggs for up to six weeks, while the male still feeds her. One chick only survives, even though two eggs are laid, and both parents feed this chick. When the chick leaves the nest they remain with their parents for much of the year, usually until the next nesting session. In the winter however families of birds will forms large flocks that can sometimes involve hundreds of birds.
Length 500 - 600 mmSurvival Status: Vulnerable