Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

These large birds are very high-maintenance pets

Sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita). Cape York peninsula. Queensland.
Andoni Canela/age fotostock/Getty Images

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos have a reputation for being loud and noisy birds, but they are also known to be very sweet and affectionate companions.

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 care for their bird before bringing a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo home. For those that can provide for its needs, the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo makes an excellent pet that is capable of learning speech, tricks and a variety of behaviors.


Different Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

There are two subspecies of these birds, the Greater and Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoos. The Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoos are quite large, reaching lengths of up to 20 inches from the beak to the tail, and weighing as much as two pounds. The Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoos are typically in the range of 13 to 15 inches long.

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos have quite a long life span, with some living up to 80 years in captivity, if cared for properly.

Colors of the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Sulphur 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 gives them their names

Feeding and Exercise for Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

In the wild, Sulphur Crested Cockatoos feast on seeds, grain, and insects that they harvest from trees. In captivity, they need a varied diet that includes high-quality pellets and seed, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Experienced owners of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos 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 active and lively bird that requires plenty of exercise to maintain proper health. Owners of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos should allow their pets a minimum of 3 to 4 hours of outside-the-cage playtime every day.

It is also important for owners to provide plenty of space for the bird to climb, stretch and flap its wings. Most Cockatoo owners provide their birds with play stands or special perches for their exercise needs.

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos as Pets

These birds are fine 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. Given their need for near-constant attention, the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is not a bird for just any owner.

Potential owners of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos should realize that unless these birds receive adequate exercise and mental stimulation, they may be driven to behaviors such as feather plucking and destructive chewing. To avoid these behaviors, owners must be diligent about providing their pets with plenty of toys and attention.

Living with a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Someone who can adequately provide for the needs of a cockatoo will be rewarded with an exceptional pet who will love them unconditionally.

Cockatoos are known for being among the most affectionate parrot species.

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.