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Sulphur Crested Cockatoos


Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

The Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is named for the bright yellow crest of feathers on top of its head.

Martin Harvey, Digital Vision/Getty Images

Common Names:

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Scientific Name:

Cacatua galerita.


Northern and Eastern Australia.


There are two subspecies of these birds, the Greater and Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoos. The Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoos are quite large, and can reach lengths of up to 20 inches from the beak to the tail, weighing as much as 2 pounds. The Lesser Sulpher Crested Cockatoos are normally in the range of 13 - 15 inches in length.

Average Lifespan:

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos have quite a long life span. Some have been known to live for up to 80 years in captivity, if properly cared for.


Sulphur Crested Cockatoos have a reputation for being loud and noisy birds, but they are also know to be very sweet and affectionate companions if hand fed as babies. In general, these birds love attention and being handled. Potential owners should make sure that they have the time and ability to provide plenty of attention for their bird before bringing a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo home. For those that can provide for a Cockatoo's needs, the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo makes an exceptional pet that is capable of learning speech, tricks, and a variety of behaviors.


The Sulpher Crested Cockatoos are primarily white, with black beaks. They sport a beautiful crest of yellow feathers on top of their heads, which is the trait that gave them their names!


In the wild, Sulpher Crested Cockatoos feast on seeds, grain, and insects that they harvest from trees. In captivity, a Sulpher Crested Cockatoo must have a varied diet that includes high quality pellets and seed, along with fresh fruits and vegetables. Owners of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos often take great care in preparing their birds' diets, as Cockatoos can quickly suffer from the effects of poor nutrition.


The Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is a highly energetic and lively bird that requires a good deal of exercise to maintain proper health. Owners of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos should allow their pets a minimum of 3-4 hours per day outside of their cages. It is also important for owners to provide plenty of space for the bird to climb, stretch, flap its wings, and play. Most Cockatoo owners provide their birds with playstands or special perches that their pets can exercise on.

Sulpher Crested Cockatoos as Pets:

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos make exceptional pets for bird lovers that have the time and energy to devote to forming a strong bond with a bird. Because Cockatoos are very social, they thrive on the affection and attention that they receive from their owners.

Most Cockatoos enjoy being handled and petted, and prefer to spend all of their time with or on their owners. Sadly, many people are not able to provide Cockatoos with the constant companionship they crave. As a result, the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is not a bird for just any owner.

Large parrots like Sulphur Crested Cockatoos are highly intelligent, and need plenty of exercise and space to play. Potential owners should realize that unless these birds are given adequate exercise and mental stimulation, they may be driven to behaviors such as feather plucking and destructive chewing. To combat the onset of these behaviors, owners must be diligent about providing their pets with plenty of toys and attention.

Those that can properly provide for the needs of a Cockatoo are generally rewarded with an exceptional pet who will love them unconditionally. Cockatoos are known for being among the most affectionate parrot species, and are not shy about showing their favorite people how much they love them! If you are thinking about bringing a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo home, make sure to do plenty of research before you make a purchase. Talk to breeders and other Cockatoo owners, and if possible, spend time with a pet cockatoo in someone's home to develop a sense of exactly what it takes to care for one. Taking the time to do your homework before bringing a bird home will only serve to enhance the bond you form with your pet, and the bird ownership experience as a whole. You owe it to yourself to make sure that you choose the right bird for you, so make sure to research a variety of species before making a final decision.
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