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The Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

by Felipe Leon
The Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

The sulphur-crested cockatoo is one of the biggest of the several species of white cockatoos.  The bird is known to be active, long-lived and noisy and a bit challenging to keep as a pet.  The bird expects a lot from its owner and it is recommended only for experienced owners.  The sulphur-crested cockatoo can reach an adult size of about 20 inches and weighing nearly two pounds.

Native to eastern Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia and New Zealand, their favorite habitat is in tropical and subtropical rainforests.  In Australia they have been seen in urban areas and in some so much they are considered a nuisance. 

Cockatoos in general are known as affectionate pets and the sulphur-crested even more so.  You do have to be willing to spare the time and effort to form a bond with your bird.  They love to be handled but also needs alone time.  Keep in mind the bird can become self-abusive and destructive if it does not get the attention it needs.

Despite of its emotional needs, it is considered one of the most intelligent of the sub-species.  They have the learning ability of a 1 to 2-year-old child and can learn to talk and do tricks.  Young birds are easier to train.These species are great mimics and can quickly learn to speak words, even sentences.  The sulphur-crested cockatoo has an especially loud shriek.  They tend not to do to well in apartments as their noisiness can cause problems for close neighbors.

Another factor of why owning the bird in a smaller area is because they need very spacious enclosures.  At the smallest the cage should be at least three feet by three feet and five feet tall.  If the cage could be bigger that would be ideal. Another issue for pet owners is the downy powder the bird emits to keep their wings and skin healthy.  The bird needs exercise and many owners provide their bird play stands or special perches for their pet to exercise.  They also like toys which are interactive, chewable, can be grasped and climbed.    

In the wild the species feeds on seeds, grain and insects.  As pets they need high-quality pellets, fresh fruit and vegetables.  If not taken care properly, the sulphur-crested cockatoo can suffer from poor nutrition and experienced owners actually prepare their bird’s diet.

The bird is primarily white with black beaks.  They have a beautiful tuff of yellow feathers on top of their heads.  It also has a bit of yellow on the underside of their wings.  Both male and female are similar although the female are known for their reddish-brown eyes.  The males are darker brown or black eyes.  The difference does not become apparent until the bird has reached an age of between 3 to 5 years of age.


by Felipe Leon

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