The Beautiful Umbrella Cockatoo
The beautiful umbrella cockatoo, aka the white cockatoo, is a large and flamboyant parrot. It is a mostly white bird with a splash of yellow under its wings and tail. It has a dramatic crest that springs open from its forehead like an umbrella, thus the name.
Behaviorally, the umbrella cockatoo, along with the moluccan, is considered to be one of the most challenging of all the parrot species. They are demanding and require commitment, patience, and most importantly, consistency from their owners.
The umbrella cockatoo might well be its own worst enemy. This bird loves affection. In fact, it CRAVES your physical attention and would do nothing else but cuddle all day if given the opportunity. When you pair that bird with an owner who is all too happy to hold the bird around the clock, the result is a bird that is ONLY happy when plastered to the chest of its owner. It becomes unwilling to function independently and the minute you step away – it screams. It is the beginning of a cycle that most people aren’t able to manage without the help of those experienced with this species.
When you visit your local parrot shelter, you are almost certain to find at least one umbrella cockatoo in residence. They are emotionally complex and are quick to develop bad habits and the inexperienced cockatoo owner will often see no other choice but to relinquish their bird.
Because their so intelligent and so explorative, we HIGHLY recommend that you use a strategy we call the “No Food bowl” strategy. The basic theory behind this strategy is that a wild Cockatoo would be spending 10+ hours of its day searching for food and keeping its mind active; yet only 20 minutes eating from its food bowl.
What we have seen a lot of of our clients have success with is to ‘Hide Their Birds Food’ in its toys each day. Done correctly, we’re able to set up scenarios where it takes 4 hours for our birds to find their breakfast inside their toys… and another 4 hours for dinner.
A cockatoo who’s spent 8 hours using its brain to solve puzzles has nowhere near the level of anxiety and energy that a bird who just eats from a food bowl has.
Here’s a video I shot about our line of toys we offer to clients that can be cut open, and how to do it:
(To check out the toy I use in this video go here: http://www.birdtricks.com/parrot-toys)
Highly Intelligent…Highly Destructive
Umbrella cockatoos are highly intelligent parrots with a seemingly innate understanding of manipulation. They learn almost immediately what they need to do to get our approval, and they use it. You will often hear a heartfelt “I love you” just before you discover the decimation of your computer keyboard.
And speaking of decimation, there will be plenty of that. Cockatoos are among the most destructive of the parrot species. A cockatoo is a large bird with a large beak which needs to be kept active with toys made of wood and other shreddable materials if your furniture is to remain intact.
One of the most common complaints you will hear from umbrella cockatoo owners is that they are unpredictable and moody. This is not untrue. One minute you might be enjoying a game of catch on the floor and the next thing you know, there’s a hole in your ankle. The body language of the umbrella cockatoo is distressingly difficult to read for those inexperienced with them and sometimes the result is a nasty bite.
Is any of this sounding all too familiar?
Don’t worry! We’re here to help! Over the years, we have learned how to raise emotionally secure and independent cockatoo companions that don’t find the need to scream when left to play on their own. We will teach you how to read your umbrella cockatoo’s body language so effectively that you can sidetrack an oncoming bite BEFORE it happens.
We want to make sure that you have a loving and long-standing relationship with your cockatoo, like we do with ours, so that your bird isn’t one of the unfortunate ones that end up in a shelter.
Which is why we highly recommend that you join us for our next FREE coaching class. We offer a free weekly webinar class aimed at helping you get started right with your Umbrella Cockatoo.
You can learn more about what we’ll cover in our next class here: Free Cockatoo Training Webinar Class