Affectionate and attractive, cockatoos are very popular exotic birds worldwide. Originating in the Australasia region, which includes Australia, Melanesia and New Zealand, these birds are very dear as pets, despite being notoriously loud and difficult to care for.
That is why in this article we have thought it convenient to give you some important advice about the characteristics of cockatoos and the care that should be taken when raising them.
Types of cockatoos
In the world there are 21 species of cockatoos, with around 15 being the best known and adopted as domestic animals. They are long-lived birds, some of which come to live more than 50 years.
The nymph cockatoo, one of the best known species, usually lives between 10 and 14 years, while the alba cockatoo can reach 10 years of life. In general, the average life of these exotic animals is 20 to 25 years.
The nymph, also known as the quarrion cockatoo, is one of the smallest species that exists, measuring around 30 cm. These animals are recognized by their gray eyes, beaks and legs, yellow on the face and orange on their cheeks.
On the other hand, the Galah cockatoo or pink breast, reaches about 35 cm, weighs between 250 gr. and 340 gr. and it is a very common species throughout Oceania. He is recognized for having a gray back and a pink chest and face, being of unique plumage within his family.
Another highly prized bird among breeders is the yellow-billed cockatoo, also known as galerita. It has its habitat in the tropical and subtropical forests of Australia, Papua, New Guinea and Indonesia, measures around 50 cm and weighs 900 gr. Its feathers are white and has a very characteristic yellow crest.
In addition to those mentioned, other highly valued species are the Alba cockatoo, the Calyptorhynchus banksii or Coliroja cockatoo, the Calyptorhynchus latirostris or the Piquicorta funeral cockatoo, the standard cockatoo and the salmon-crested cockatoo.
Most outstanding characteristics of cockatoos
In terms of characteristics, some types of cockatoos differ markedly from the rest of their species, however, we can find some common peculiarities in all of them.
The size of the most popular species is between 30cm and 60cm and its weight can reach 300gr in the smallest species and 1200gr in the largest.
Another remarkable feature of cockatoos is the plume they have on their heads, which they lift in moments of excitement or when they touch the ground after a flight. In addition, they have a curved beak.
Cockatoos have short legs and use their claws to move and climb branches. The male’s beak is a bit bigger and hunched than the female’s. Another issue that differentiates males from females is the muted hue of the plumage’s color. These animals often use their beaks to help them climb.
The noise generated by a cockatoo is also its hallmark. Although it is a condition that it shares with parrots, the noise of a cockatoo is usually noticeably more excessive, so much so that it can be heard more than a kilometer away. It is important to take this condition into account as it does not make them ideal pets for small spaces.
His relationship with human beings is usually good thanks to his affectionate character. However, the process to tame them and gain their trust can be long and somewhat complicated. Also, although most cockatoos are docile, some can be aggressive and frantic.
Care of cockatoos
Like most pets, caring for cockatoos requires time and patience. At first, you will notice that these birds are kept locked in their cage, showing frightened and / or aggressive. This is absolutely normal and it is advisable to give them time to adapt to the environment.
It is advisable that, little by little, the bird gets used to the voice of its owner. That will make the cockatoo come into trust and establish links with its master. We can recognize that the cockatoo has taken confidence when it approaches the call. If necessary, it is convenient to caress your loin gently without removing it from the cage.
Some people decide to have the cockatoo out of their cage, in total freedom inside the house. Although this does not represent a problem, it is advisable that you get used to using your cage to sleep and eat and that at certain times you can walk around the house, free. That way, it will be easier to transfer it to the veterinarian if necessary.
The cockatoo cage should be rectangular, taller than wide, made of stainless steel and be spacious enough so that it can play without problems. It is important that the bars have no more than 2cm of separation, that way we avoid that you can jam your head between the bars.
Their diet should be composed of seeds, foods of plant origin and feed. Cockatoos love to eat fruits, especially peaches, bananas and apples. Their diet may include pulp of mangoes and papayas, although this can cause stomach problems due to their high fiber content, so the amounts should be controlled.
Green vegetables such as lettuce and chard are also well received by cockatoos. Also, sweet potatoes, carrots and pumpkins can be included. Eggplant, milk and potatoes, as well as sweets and caffeine, should be avoided at all costs.
Among the most common diseases of cockatoos, we find the common cold, the attack of mites and diarrhea. Some much more serious are psittacosis and ovarian occlusion. In all cases, it is advisable to visit the veterinarian to start the appropriate treatment.
Did you dare to have a cockatoo as a pet at home? As you can see, these exotic birds are very intelligent and affectionate, but they require special care and certain conditions that you must take into account before making the final decision.