Cockatoo: Description, Habitat, & Fun Facts

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Cockatoo Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Cacatuidae

The cockatoo is a brightly coloured bird with a beautiful crest of plumage on its head that is intelligent and talkative. Despite the cockatoo’s loyal, caring, and fun nature, his high energy and boisterous antics are a reflection of his complex emotional interior life.

This species of bird has a loving disposition and can occasionally make suitable companions for humans who keep them as pets. Cockatoos are a common sight in their native habitat in the Asia Pacific region, including some urban and suburban areas.

However, their rowdy and destructively playful behaviour does not necessarily make them popular with the locals.

Amazing Facts About Cockatoos!

• According to reports, an Australian cockatoo lived to be 120 years old, making it the world’s oldest bird of all time! Sadly, the cockatoo, named Cocky Bennett, went away in December after losing all of his feathers!

• Cockatoos are among the most popular exotic birds in the international pet trade, and they have a long history of being domesticated. They are a regular sight in zoos, and they are sometimes kept as pets as well.

• Harley, a cockatoo bird who goes by the moniker of Harley, has become something of an Instagram celebrity. Harley is a white cockatoo (sometimes known as an umbrella cockatoo) who lives in the Netherlands.

• During climbing or holding items, cockatoos have a sharp beak that can be used as a sort of third leg by the bird. • Cockatoos moult, or replace their flying feathers, at a glacial rate, which makes them difficult to see. An entire two years are required by one species to finish the moulting process.

• Cockatoos keep themselves clean by preening on a regular basis. They make a powder-like substance and then smear it all over their body with their beaks in order to keep themselves clean.

Scientific Name of Cockatoo

The cockatoo bird is a kind of parrot that belongs to the Cacatuidae family of parrots. Kaketoe is taken from the Dutch word kaketoe, which is derived from the local Indonesian name kakaktua, which literally translates as ‘parrot.’

It is one of the few major families that make up the order of parrots known as the Psittaciformes, which includes the true parrots and the New Zealand parrots, as well as the other true parrots and the New Zealand parrots.

Cockatoos are classified into seven separate genera, with a total of 21 existing species on the planet. From the fossil record, only a few extinct cockatoos have been identified.

Appearance and Behavior of the Cockatoo

The cockatoo has a broad & curved beak, tiny, round eyes, along with an intricate head crest that it can move up and down at whim in order to communicate its mood to those around it. I is a is a standard- to big-sized parrot.

During development, cockatoos have a special digital arrangement on their feet. It is known as zygodactyls, which means that two of their toes are pointed forward and two of their toes are pointed back. Because of this, they are able to tightly hold branches and climb up trees with extreme precision.

They have even demonstrated the ability to climb with one foot while holding food with the other. When compared to parrots, the majority of cockatoos have significantly less colouring. Because they lack the vibrant textures present in other parrots, they are frequently displayed in basic black and white arrangements.

There are some species that do, though, have a variety of vivid and intricate hues, including reds, blues, yellows, and green, among others.

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In terms of size, the normal cockatoo species can range in length from 12 to 24 inches and weigh up to a couple pounds — roughly the same size as a table lamp — depending on the species. The great black or palm cockatoo is the largest of the species, and it can grow to be up to 30 inches in total length.

Animals like cockatoos are highly social creatures that flock together in big groups. Depending on the amount of food that is accessible to them in a particular location, the size of the flock can range from a few hundred to thousands.

Large flock sizes are frequently transient affairs, with individuals free to come and leave as they please from time to time. Cockatoos, with the exception of their partners, are not known to create significant bonds. They communicate with one another by emitting loud and piercing sounds through the dense vegetation of their natural environments.

These piercing sounds help them to communicate their emotions, issue warnings, and form social connections. If they feel threatened by a predator, the flock will disperse, leaving sentinels to keep watch and sound the alarm.

Additionally, the crest feathers send essential messages to other cockatoos in the vicinity. When these feathers are down, they indicate a peaceful or gentle state of mind. The presence of erect feathers may indicate that the bird is extremely anxious or excited.

It is also possible when the bird becomes agitated that a featherless patch of skin under the eyes will change colours. When the seasons change, cockatoos are nomadic birds that will move long distances in big groups to find a new home.

Their willingness to move varies according to the species and the real food availability in the area. For example, forest-dwelling species travel less frequently due to a more sufficient food supply. Cockatoos are nearly always energetic throughout the day and relax in their nests at night, regardless of the species they belong to.

Cockatoos are among the most intelligent birds on the globe, and their intelligence is well documented. Observations have been made by scientists, for example, that with little instruction they can make tools out of sticks.

They can build personalised tools by breaking down a stick to a more appropriate size is something that is less commonly understood. The bird would then strike the hollow portion of a tree with the stick.

It is thought that this behaviour serves as a territorial alarm or possibly as a way to strengthen the bond with a partner. Cockatoos are also known to be skilled at puzzle solving and item manipulation, according to research.

Habitat of the Cockatoo

The cockatoo is found only in the Pacific region of Asia, and it is a little bird. In addition to Australia, they have a widespread distribution in the countries of the Philippines, New Guinea, eastern Indonesia (mostly the area of Sulawesi), and several isolated islands such as the Solomon Islands.

There are many different types of native habitats that each species might occupy. These habitats range from rain forests to pine forests to open plains to eucalyptus bushes to mangrove groves. Occasionally, they can be found on the lower slopes of mountain ranges as well. In the wild, cockatoos like to roost in cavities in trees or among dense foliage.

Diet of the Cockatoo

Seeds, roots, fruits, and nuts make up the majority of the cockatoo’s primary food. Cockatoos will usually consume insects if they are supposed to eat meat at any point. In some cases, cockatoos may specialise in a particular variety of plant, or they may simply eat everything they can find.

Using their powerful curved beak and muscular tongue, they can shatter open shells and dig up roots and insects from the earth, much like a primitive tool.

Cockatoo Predators and Threats

In the wild, cockatoos are frequently preyed upon by predators such as snakes, falcons, owls, eagles, as well as large cats. They are not entirely defenceless, but because of their diminutive size, they are vulnerable to huge predators if they are separated from the rest of the flock.

They are also more susceptible to illnesses and infections. For thousands of years, cockatoos and humans have coexisted together and cockatoos have adapted to their surroundings. Large-scale hunting and land development, on the other hand, have caused some contention.

Cockatoos are particularly vulnerable to habitat loss due to their highly specific environmental requirements, which include logging, mining, and agriculture. An even more major issue is the illegal trade of wildlife. Capturing Cockatoo and Cockatoo trade is strictly restricted by international law, however illegal hunting continues in many places.

Due to their proclivity to prey on various domesticated crops, some farmers consider the cockatoos to be major pests on their properties. Attempts have been made to poison them, shoot them, capture them, or just scare them away in order to keep them from destroying crops.

It is also possible that they will destroy property, ruin gardens, or chew through wires if they are living in close proximity to human settlements in order to obtain food or preserve the sharpness of their beaks. This has occasionally resulted in a tense relationship with human beings.

Cockatoo Reproduction, Babies, and Life Expectancy

In general, cockatoos are monogamous animals, and they can create profound, years-long ties with the partners they choose to be with. It has been said that they suffer psychologically when separated from a mate because of their strong emotional relationships to each other.

In the past, it has been observed that cockatoos court each other by feeding or preening. Once a bond has been established, these courtship displays tend to fade away a little. The pair will search for an existing hole large enough for an adult to fit through and then methodically construct a nest out of parts of sticks, wood chips, and leaves after they have found a mate for themselves.

These openings are often in such short supply that the cockatoos must compete with one another for space. The female will lay one to eight eggs in two- to three-day intervals after mating. After all of the eggs have been laid, it is possible for both parents to share the incubation responsibilities.

The last chicks to emerge from the eggs will face intense competition for food and will not always make it out of the eggs alive. Early in life, the young birds will begin to develop and gain vital abilities from their parents, which will benefit them throughout their lives.

They typically attain sexual maturity between the ages of three and seven years after hatching, with their flying feathers developing within the first few months of their life after hatching.

Cockatoos live in the wild for decades at a time, with an average lifespan of 25-60 years. Several individuals have been identified to live for nearly as long as humans, and some have even lived longer.

Cockatoo Population Estimates

The number of cockatoos in a population might vary drastically depending on the species. Seven cockatoo species are now endangered with extinction or are at risk of becoming extinct in the wild according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

The yellow-crested cockatoo and the Philippine cockatoo are the two species that are most at risk of extinction. Both have been designated as critically endangered species. The population of the white cockatoo (also known as the umbrella cockatoo), which lives on the Indonesian islands, has similarly declined to the point where it now qualifies for endangered status.

However, possibly as a result of the fact that many of them live in huge portions of Australia’s interior, the majority of cockatoo species are not under risk of extinction at the present time. A number of species have adapted to human intrusion, and in some cases, have profited from it.

The galah cockatoo, often known as the roseate cockatoo, is the most widely distributed species. Hundreds or perhaps thousands of them can be seen rising across the Australian horizon at times. International accords currently protect the cockatoo, which has managed to reduce population loss.

Several organisations as well as zoos are committed to protecting cockatoos from extinction and maintaining genetic diversity in their genetic pool through breeding initiatives.

Cockatoo References

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