The Cockatoo Parrot continues to grow in popularity as a pet bird. Its beauty, intelligence, and affectionate personality make it a wonderful pet for the right family. Here are 6 things to know about this fabulous pet bird. Being fully aware and prepared for all that is involved is the best gift you can give in return for the love and affection that your Cockatoo will give.
Life Span-Considered to be one of the longest-lived Parrots, with proper care the smaller species (Goffin’s, Galah/Rose-Breasted, and Lesser Sulfur Crested) can live up to 40 years, and the larger species (Moluccan, Greater Sulfur Crested, Umbrella) can live from 80 to 100 years and sometimes more. This is no fly-by-night commitment, but one for a lifetime, so consider carefully.
Size-The wide variety of birds available means you can choose the size that fits best in your home. The smaller species average 12 inches in length while the bigger birds can measure up to 2 feet in length. The larger birds will not only cost more but require a larger cage, and more space in your home. Consider not only the space you have now, but what it may be in 5 or 10 years.
Color-Very distinctive in their appearance, they look different from most Parrots because they tend to be a single color. Available in white with yellow or white crests, glossy black or black with red tails, they are show stoppers and they know it and love to be the center of your attention!
Personality-They love to entertain by showing off tricks they know. If healthy, they are very active, and inquisitive, and can spend hours playing with and chewing their toys. Because they live in flocks in the wild, they are very social and need a lot of attention from their humans. They enjoy and need several hours daily of social interaction with humans, and do best with short but consistent periods of daily training. Providing proper attention and training is just as important as food and water because lack of social interaction can lead to neurotic behaviors such as feather plucking, biting, and screaming. It can also cause stress which changes the bird’s body chemistry making it more susceptible to disease and infection. If you are not able to spend that amount of time daily, consider having 2 birds or think about adopting a bird that needs less of your time.
Diet-Cockatoos need fresh water made available at all times, and should be fed a well balanced diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, sprouted seeds in addition to a high quality pellet mix. Occasional protein in the form of cottage cheese, cooked meat, and egg can be offered. Avoid avocado, chocolate, alcohol, and caffeine as they are toxic.
Health-They are hardy birds and remain generally healthy with good care. But even with the best of care, they can sometimes become ill. Since they instinctively hide illness to avoid becoming prey in the wild, problems may be hard to detect. Any changes in normal behavior, eating and sleeping patterns, or discharge from eyes or nose is in indication that there is a problem. Consult your avian vet immediately for the best chances of having your bird survive.
Cockatoo’s are susceptible to Psittacosis, a disease contagious to other birds as well as humans. It is generally transmitted by airborne contaminants and gains a foothold when inhaled or ingested.
As a normal part of their growth, they produce feather dust–a white powder that tends to settle in a fine layer in areas where the Cockatoo is housed. Many who suffer from allergy and asthma are allergic to it.