Factors to Consider When Adopting Cockatoos

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

A cockatoo is a small parrot that belongs to the family Cacatuidae. This species of bird is a popular pet, especially in the west. The bird is characterized by its colorful plumage, showy crests, and curved bills. Cockatoos are small, affectionate, and low maintenance so they make an excellent pet, even for people who live in small apartments. If you have always wanted a pet bird and you are wondering what factors you need to consider before getting one, read our tips below:

Cockatoos need Attention

Although cockatoos are perfectly okay hanging out in their bird cage, they seek attention too. These mischievous birds can sometimes get cranky in the absence of their humans. Cockatoos tend to express their displeasure by shouting and being aggressive to their owners.

The lack of attention could also cause self-mutilation. If the cockatoos are not getting the attention they need, they would start plucking their own feathers to seek attention. Some will pick a fight with other birds and get very, very loud. So if you want to adopt a cockatoo, make sure you are committed to caring for it. That includes giving the bird all the attention it wants so it does not engage in negative behavior or bother the neighbors.

They come in Many Colors

Cockatoos come in an array of colors and sizes. In Indonesia alone, there are 21 species of cockatoos. The most common types of cockatoos are small ones with sulfur crest, Goffin’s cockatoos and Moluccan cockatoos. Larger cockatoos also come in various colors including blue, green, and yellow-green!

Long Lifespan

Cockatoo live a long time. The average lifespan of small breeds of cockatoo is 40 years. Larger cockatoos can live up to 80 years. Because these birds have such long life spans, longtime commitment is needed to adopt cockatoos as pets. That said, cockatoos that live in captivity die young. But as long as you take care of the bird, your pet will be with you for years to come.


Parrots are known for mimicking human words and that’s part of the cockatoos appeal too. However, only some species of cockatoos are inclined towards mimicry. Usually, larger cockatoos can be trained to mimic human words or even “talk” to their humans. Others cannot be trained to talk to humans at all.

Feather Plucking

Although some cockatoos will engage in self-mutilation to seek attention, others pluck their own feathers because of stress. Other reasons for the inexplicable plucking of feathers among cockatoos are a bacterial infection, dry skin, vitamin deficiency, and tapeworm. If your cockatoo starts engaging in this habit, have it checked by a veterinarian.

Bird Cage

The cage of the bird should be big enough to accommodate the cockatoos according to size. For small cockatoos, go for a cage that’s at least 24″ x 36″ x 48″ in size with a bar spacing of ¾” to 1″. For larger cockatoos, get a cage that’s at least 24″ x 48″ x 48”, with a bar spacing of about 1″ to 1.5″. Cockatoos have very tough beaks so make sure the cage is made from iron or stainless steel. These birds are aggressive chewers so to avoid damaging the cage, provide chew toys made from soft wood, vegetable tanned leather or ropes.