. sulphur crested cockatoo
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- An Australian Parrot
(Click on photo/s to enlarge)
- Scientific Name: Cacatua galerita
- Common Name/s:
SULPHUR CRESTED COCKATOO, WHITE COCKATOO.
- Sub Species in country / area of origin:
- Origin / Distribution: Across
the top of Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland.
Down the east coast from Australia from Queensland to Victoria and
across to South Australia. Also occurs in Tasmania, plus New Guinea and
- Habitat In Wild: Occupies a wide
diversity of habitat and has benefited from farmland and cultivated
areas, especially in south east Australia. Generally found in
- Status In Wild: Common.
Often treated as a pest species in some farm areas.
- Status In (Australian) Captivity:
Not often bred, but secure due to the legal harvesting of young birds from
the wild. Mainly kept as a pet. Can be a difficult bird
to breed in an aviary.
- Age To Sexual Maturity: ?
- Lifespan (estimate): Long lived,
approx 25 or more years. May be up to 50 years can be
- Sexing: Monomorphic
/ Dimorphic Surgical or DNA sexing is required.
- Colour mutations: None
- Availability: Bird dealers
and specialist breeders.
- Temperament: Often kept as a pet
in a cage. They can be good talkers but can be very noisy.
Early morning screeching can be very annoying to neighbours. One pair per
large aviary. The Sulphur crested cockatoo is a social bird
usually seen in a flock and as a pet bird they require a lot of
attention and interaction.
The temperament of a pet Sulphur
may change as they grow up. Hormonal changes can significantly change the
bird's temperament when puberty starts or becomes a "teenager". Some
can become very territorial and show aggression if you enter their space.
- Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: -
Normal colour (Approx.) $200 - pet birds may be more
- Description Of Adults:
- Length: Approx. 500 mm (or approx. 20 inches)
- Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer
(Click on photo/s to enlarge).
- Weight: Approx. 700 - 900 gms (or approx 25
- 31 ozs)
Level Of Knowledge Required:
Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced /
Government Regulations & By-Laws:
Refer to " Government Laws " web page.
Housing Requirements: Refer to "
Housing Birds " web page for general
details on the housing of Cockatoos or read on for specific details for
An aviary of 4 to 5 metres long will allow
these birds to be able to get adequate exercise. The aviary should
be about 1.2 to 1.5 metres wide and about 2.1 metres high. Heavy
gauge wire is necessary, preferably galvanized weldmesh.
An aviary of up to 7 metres (22 feet) long will allow these large birds
to get adequate exercise and maintain good health.
Suitable non-toxic leafy branches can be placed in the aviary for the birds to chew up.
This will entertain the birds, help minimize boredom and give the birds
some beak exercise. Natural branches can be used for perches. These
natural perches will be chewed by the birds and may need to be replaced
To help relieve boredom and as a way of
providing exercise, suitable bird toys can be placed in the aviary.
Most bird toys are designed to be chewed up and will require replacing
after the birds have reduced them to splinters. Aviary breeding
birds will enjoy playing with and destroying bird toys just as much as
Diet / Feeding: Refer to "
Feeding Birds " web page for general
details on the feeding of Cockatoos or read on for specific details for
Native foods include seeds of the
Acacia, Eucalypt and the introduced Pine species along with the seeds of
grasses and other plants. They will rip open branches to get to
the grubs which they eat along with other insects. Branches, seeds
and cones of these trees and other suitable native plants should be
offered to the birds along with branches and fruiting bodies of the
cotoneaster and hawthorn bushes. This will provide them with hours
of physical activity and mental stimulation as well as a varied diet.
Aviary diet should restrict the amount
of Sunflower and safflower seed. Other seeds include canary, corn,
hulled oats, millet, milo, and wheat.
Other foods can include apple, almonds, peanuts,
grapes, vegetables such as
broccoli, corn, peas and silverbeet. Leafy green vegetables are
essential to a balanced diet. Small amounts of Plain Madeira cake
can be added to a balanced diet. Seeding grasses are eagerly
consumed. Many will eat insects such as grubs and
mealworm larvae pupa and beetles. Dry dog food can be offered.
Nesting: A basic overview only. Dimensions
are typical / average and can vary widely, influenced by the owner's
preferences and the birds preferences. Parent bird's preferences can
also be influenced by the size and type of nest-box / log in which the
bird was hatched and reared. If space allows, offering a choice of
sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, and placed in various locations
within the aviary, can allow the parent birds to make their own choice.
Once a pair has chosen a specific nest-box/log and been successful in
it, offer that one to them each breeding season. Try and keep that one
for their exclusive use. Once a pair has chosen its log or nest-box,
the other ones can generally be removed. If the "spare" boxes are to be
removed and moved to another flight, ensure the log / nest-box is
cleaned to ensure the receptacle has the minimal contamination of mites,
parasites and pathogens.
A solid log is the preferred nest for
- Nesting months: August
to January in the southern Australian States. They usually
breed earlier in the warmer northern States.
- Log / Nest-box:
/ depth 1000 mm (or approx. 40 inches)
- Log internal
diameter approx. 300 - 350mm. (or approx. 12 - 14
- Nest-box internal dimensions approx. 300 - 350
mm square (or approx. 12 - 14 inches square)
- Diameter of
hole approx. ? mm (or approx. ? inches)
- Inspection hole (square or round)
100 - 150mm
(or approx 4 - 6 inches)
- A removable top / lid can be a
useful access point for inspections and for cleaning.
- Location and height
of log / nest-box = high in the covered part of the aviary but not
too close to the roof to be affected by heat from the roof in the
- Angle of log or nest box = Log or nest box can be vertical or on an
angle of up to 45 degrees.
- Nesting log / nest-box material:
Decomposed non-toxic saw dust, wood shavings or other suitable
- Who incubates the egg/s: Hen
/ cock / both share.
Timber nest-boxes generally require a
climbing structure attached inside the box below the entrance hole. Both
logs and nests need an entrance hole/opening about 100mm (about 4 inches) from the top. Many species of parrots like the entrance hole
to be just big enough to squeeze through.
More details on
parrot nestboxes/logs and a selection of
parrot nestbox/log photos
can be found on the "nests", "parrot nests"
and "parrot nestbox photos"
web pages. Click on "Up" then "Nests" then "parrot nests"
and "parrot nestbox photos" in
the navigation bars.
Breeding: Egg Colour
White. Clutch/s per year 1. Eggs
per nest 2 - 3. Incubation
approx. 28 - 30 days. Fledge approx. 8 -
Independent approx. another 3 or more months.
Not bred very often in aviaries.
Many young are legally harvested from the wild. Most young birds
are sold into the pet or companion bird market.
It is essential to obtain a compatible
pair if you expect to produce young. If the birds are not
compatible, the birds are more likely to be aggressive towards each
other and fight. A compatible pair is usually a good breeder and
Artificial incubation and hand
rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site. It is
too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.
Health Issues: Refer to "Avian
Health Issues" web page for information and references.
- Worming and parasite control
and Quarantine requirements of new bird/s or sick bird/s are
considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on
this web site. Refer "Avian Health Issues"
web page option.
- Avian medicine is advancing
at a rapid pace. Keep updating your knowledge and skills.
References: Refer to references listed on "Book References"
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