Moluccan Cockatoos

Long-lived and Feisty, Moluccan Cockatoos are challenging pets

Portrait of salmon crested cockatoo, Cacatua moluccensis. Displaying his crest is a threat in the wild but this bird has learned that it gets him attention.
Nancy Nehring/E+/Getty Images

Moluccan Cockatoos are affectionate birds that bond strongly with their owners and thrive on interaction. Also known as Salmon-Crested Cockatoos due to the pink feathers that sprout from their heads, these birds are native to the Moloccus (Maluku Islands) in Indonesia.

Moluccan Cockatoos are large birds, averaging about 20 inches in length from the beak to the tip of the tail feathers. Besides the bright pink crests on their heads, Moluccan Cockatoos are primarily white with salmon colored feathers on their chests and wings.

Those interested in owning a Moluccan Cockatoo should want a cuddly and somewhat clingy feathered friend, as these birds like to stay close by their owners. And Moluccan Cockatoos require a lifetime commitment, as they can live up to 70 years. 

How to Feed Moluccan Cockatoos

Like all members of the cockatoo family, Moluccan Cockatoos can suffer health problems if they gain too much weight, so owners need to keep an eye on the birds' fat intake. You'll want to feed them a diet that includes bird-safe fruits and vegetables like bananas, apples, carrots and kale (all thoroughly washed to prevent parasitic infections), high-quality pellets and a little bit of seed mix for a treat to ensure they're getting the nutrition they need. 

Exercise is Crucial for Moluccan Cockatoos

Moluccan Cockatoos like to stay active, and they need plenty of exercise to maintain their mental and physical well-being. They'll require between 3 and 4 hours outside the cage on a daily basis (it doesn't have to be all at one sitting), so your Moluccan Cockatoo can play and stretch its muscles.

Make sure this out-of-cage time is in a safe, enclosed area where your bird won't hurt himself, or worse, escape from the house.

You'll also want to ensure your Moluccan Cockatoo has bird-appropriate chew toys to exercise their beaks on. A bored cockatoo is likely to chew on whatever's available, especially walls and furniture made of wood.


Moluccan Cockatoos as Pets

In the wild, Moluccan Cockatoos live in large flocks and need a similar environment in captivity. This is likely why they bond so strongly with their owners. Don't get a Moluccan Cockatoo unless you can be certain you'll have enough time allotted daily to meet your very social pet's needs. 

Just like its relatives in the parrot family, one of the Moluccan Cockatoo's primary methods of communicating is loud screeching. Be sure you can handle this personality trait in your bird before you commit to owning one. Obviously, if you live in an apartment building, the noise factor may mean you're not a suitable owner for this feisty bird. 

Adopting a Moluccan Cockatoo

Before you buy a Moluccan Cockatoo, contact local breeders to see if you can spend some time with the bird you want to choose. Getting to know someone that has experience raising Moluccan Cockatoos will help you decide if they are the right bird for you. Better to check out a bird in advance and decide against adoption than to take one home and become overwhelmed.