Cacatua galerita, The Sulphur Crested Cockatoo Genus, Cacatua is native to Australia and can be found from Far North Queensland along the western coast all the way to just north of Perth.
Australians consider them pests as they can be destructive to crops and homes. Farmers are often given permits to destroy them. Sulphur-crested cockatoos may no longer be imported into the United States as a result of the Wild Bird Conservation Act. However, they can be bred in captivity.
Sulphur-crested Cockatoos breed in August to January in the south of their range, and May to September in the north. They generally lay one to three eggs and both male and female birds prepare the nest and care for the birds. Chicks hatch after about 30 days and become independent around 60 to 70 days. However they remain with the parents year round and family groups generally stay together indefinitely.
There are four sub species of Sulphur Crested including the Eleonora cockatoo, Medium Sulphur Crested cockatoo, and Triton cockatoo. The Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoo is a full sized cockatoo, which means they grow to about 19 inches long.
Their plumage is fine and soft and they are primarily white with a yellow sulphur colored crest on the top of their head. The underside of the wings and tail is also frequently tinged with yellow. Their eyes generally have blue skin around them and the iris is dark brown in males and reddish brown in females. Surgical or DNA sexing generally required.
The Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoo resembles the Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoo yet it is a different species. The Greater and Lesser Sulphur Crested are considered ‘superspecies’, which means they are similar species that are geographically separated.
The Lesser is native to Timor-Leste and the Indonesia’s islands of Bali, Timor, Sulawesi and Lesser Sunda Islands. The Greater Sulphur is a larger bird than the Lesser and the lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoo has a stockier beak, a narrower crest and white skin around their eyes rather than blue.
Typical of cockatoos, the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is an incredibly affectionate and intelligent bird. In the wild Cockatoos are friendly and peaceful. They live together in flocks of 20 or more birds. In captivity, they are affectionate and loyal and can be taught a number of tricks.
They are considered to be moderate talkers with the ability to generally learn a handful of words. In addition to their intelligence they are considered extremely noisy birds and are not the right bird for an owner in a small space or with shared walls. Likewise, they demand a significant amount of personal attention each day.
Potential drawbacks to ownership are their need for attention, their natural tendency to chew on most everything and their extremely loud nature. They’re extremely vocal and regular vocalizations and screeching is heard both in the morning and in the
While the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo generally only live 20-40 years in the wild, in captivity they are extremely long lived and can live upwards of 70 years. This longevity means that people considering owning a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo must take into consideration proper socialization, training, and care to ensure that they live a long and happy life. Proper socialization, training, and care will also help to eliminate any behavior problems and the potential need for re-homing.