Popular Pet Cockatoo Species

Cockatoos are certainly attractive birds, but not everyone is suited to own one

There are several different cockatoo types, all of which are popular options as pets. But cockatoos, who are part of the parrot family, are not the easiest birds care for.  Some potential owners are attracted to cockatoos for their attractive plumage but are unaware that the birds need a lot of attention and can be very noisy. 

If you're undeterred by the downsides of owning a cockatoo, here are a few of the most popular varieties of this striking bird. 

  • 01 of 10
    Cockatoo at birdfeeder in tree, side view
    Eric Van Den Brulle/The Image Bank/Getty Images

    The Bare-Eyed Cockatoo may not be the prettiest parrot in the world, but they more than make up for it in personality. Sweet, playful and intelligent, Bare-Eyed Cockatoos are smaller than other types of cockatoos. This makes them a good option for families with children, and for those who want the personality of a larger parrot, but don't have the space to accommodate one.

  • 02 of 10
    Black palm cockatoo
    Floridapfe from S.Korea Kim in cherl / Getty Images

    Black Palm Cockatoos are large, powerful birds that require the expertise of experienced parrot owners. While hand fed Black Palm Cockatoos make excellent, tame pets, they still require firm training and are not for those who are new to keeping large parrots. Simply put -- these are bold parrots who need bold owners. Do not adopt a Black Palm Cockatoo if you are intimidated by large birds.

  • 03 of 10
    Sumba Citron Crested Cockatoo
    Ger Bosma / Getty Images

    Citron Cockatoos are quieter than most cockatoo species, but they have big personalities and they love to play and interact with their owners. Inquisitive and affectionate, a Citron Cockatoo will want to be by your side as often as possible. Like most parrots, these birds need a lot of interaction with their owners, so be prepared to spend time with them.

  • 04 of 10
    Goffin's Cockatoo
    Francis Apesteguy / Getty Images

    Goffin's Cockatoos bond strongly with their owners and require daily interaction to maintain their mental and emotional health. These birds simply cannot thrive if they are neglected, and will resort to destructive behaviors if their need for interaction is not met. Due to their personalities, Goffin's Cockatoos are recommended for experienced bird owners that can spend significant time with them.

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  • 05 of 10
    Major Mitchell's Cockatoo
    " Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo at Australia Z" ( CC BY 2.0) by  Richard.Fisher

    The Major Mitchell's Cockatoo is an attractive and intelligent bird and is among the most sought after Cockatoo species. While it can be tempting to rush out and buy one of these beautiful birds, Major Mitchell's Cockatoos need specialized care and environments that not all bird owners can accommodate. They are recommended for experienced bird owners, preferably those who are familiar with large parrots.

  • 06 of 10
    Moluccan Cockatoos Perching On Wood Against Tree
    Alexander Bialik / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Moluccan Cockatoos are very affectionate birds that bond strongly with their owners and thrive on interaction. 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. Like most of the birds on this list, owners should expect to spend a significant amount of time socializing with a Moluccan Cockatoo.

  • 07 of 10
    Galah flying
    Vanessa Mylett / Getty Images

    Their striking pink and gray feathers and friendly personalities have made Rose-Breasted Cockatoos popular pets. Native to Australia, these birds can live up to 80 years in captivity if they are kept in good health. Also known as "galahs," Rose-Breasted Cockatoos are loud and bold, so don't expect a docile, quiet companion if you bring one of these birds into your home.

  • 08 of 10
    Long-billed corellas
    Auscape/UIG / Getty Images

    Slender-Billed Cockatoos, also known as Long-Billed Corellas have long been popular as pets in their native Australia, and are beginning to attract fans in other parts of the world. The needs of a Slender-Billed Cockatoo is similar to other parrots: They crave interaction with their owners and require daily handling and socialization to maintain their emotional health.

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  • 09 of 10
    Sulphur-crested cockatoo
    By John Turnbull (Own work) [ CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    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.

  • 10 of 10
    Umbrella Cockatoos
    " Umbrella Cockatoos" ( CC BY 2.0) by  mariposavet

    Hand fed Umbrella Cockatoos can be intelligent and well-behaved pets. For a person that can meet the needs of these magnificent birds, which include the attention and interaction that most parrots crave, Umbrella Cockatoos make fine companions. Many are gentle enough to be handled by older children and are beloved family pets.