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A cockatoo is any of the 21 species belonging to the bird family Cacatuidae. Along with the Psittacidae (the true parrots) and the Nestoridae, they make up the order Psittaciformes. The name cockatoo originated from the Malay name for these birds, kaka(k)tua (either from kaka "parrot" + tuwah, or "older sister" from kakak "sister" + tua, "old"). Placement of the cockatoos as a separate family is fairly undisputed, but it is not resolved whether or not other living lineages of parrots (such as the lories and lorikeets) are as distinct as they appear. The family has an Australasian distribution, ranging from the Philippinesmarker and the eastern Indonesianmarker islands of Wallacea to New Guineamarker, the Solomon Islandsmarker and Australia.

Cockatoos are, on average, larger than true parrots; however, the Cockatiel, the smallest cockatoo, is a small bird, while the largest cockatoo, the Palm Cockatoo, at 55–60 cm (22–24 in) long is smaller than the larger macaws and several other parrots. Their plumage is generally less colourful than that of other parrots, being mainly white, grey or black with some colour elsewhere. They have strong bills and feet, and are instantly recognisable by their showy crests. The diet of the cockatoos is composed of seeds, tubers, corms, fruit, flowers and insects. They often feed in large flocks, particularly if they feed on the ground. Cockatoos are monogamous and nest in tree hollows.

Cockatoos are popular birds in aviculture, although, for some species, the largely illegal trade in wild-caught parrots has threatened their survival. Some cockatoo species are adversely affected by habitat loss and particularly by the loss of suitable hollows for nesting when large, mature trees are cleared; conversely, some species have adapted well to human changes and are considered agricultural pest.


The Oxford English Dictionary dates the word cockatoo from the 17th century, and records the derivation from the Malay name for these birds, kaka(k)tua (either from kaka "parrot" + tuwah, or "older sister" from kakak "sister" + tua, "old"), via the Dutch kaketoe; the word cock possibly influencing. Seventeenth century variants include cacato, cockatoon and crockadore, and cokato, cocatore and cocatoo from the eighteenth. The derivation has also been used for the family and generic names Cacatuidae and Cacatua respectively.

In Australian slang or vernacular speech, a person who is deputed to keep a look-out while colleagues undertake clandestine or illegal activities, particularly gambling, may be referred to as a "cockatoo". Proprietors of small agricultural undertakings are frequently jocularly or slightly disparagingly referred to as "cocky farmers".


Phylogeny of the family Cacatuidae based on the available literature

The cockatoos were first defined as a subfamily Cacatuinae within the parrot family Psittacidae by English naturalist George Robert Gray in 1840, with Cacatua the first listed and type genus. This group has been alternately considered as a full family or subfamily by different authorities. American ornithologist James Lee Peters in his 1937 Check-list of Birds of the World, and Sibley and Monroe in 1990 maintained it as a subfamily, while parrot expert Joseph Forshaw rated it a family in 1973. Subsequent molecular studies have reinforced the cockatoos as forming a well-defined group or clade. However, the relationships between the individual cockatoo species are not yet fully understood, and the available data does not support any subdivision of the family into subfamilies. In particular, the placement of the Gang-gang Cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum) and Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus) have been difficult. Australian farmer and amateur ornithologist John Courtney observed in 1996 that the juveniles of these two species bobbed their heads more like parrot species when begging for food, unlike other cockatoo species. American researchers David M. Brown and Catherine A. Toft sequenced and compared mitochondrial DNA in 1999, and found both species to be more closely related to the black cockatoo genus Calyptorhynchus than to white cockatoos. This contrasted with Australian ornithologist Richard Schodde's placement of the Gang-gang in a proposed subfamily Cacatuinae with the white cockatoos.

The genera Eolophus, Lophochroa and Cacatua themselves form a well-defined distinct group or clade. All species in this clade are hypomelanistic and do not show sexual dimorphism. The relationships within the Eolophus/Lophochroa/Cacatua clade are well established, with the genus Eolophus (Galah) basal (an early offshoot) to the other genera while the genera Lophochroa and Cacatua are sister clades. The genera Calyptorhynchus and Cacatua are further subdivided into two subgenera each.

How the remaining genera are related to each other varies between studies, often with poor statistical support for the various topologies, and is effectively unresolved. These dark species have ample melanin in their plumage combined with some red, yellow or orange on wing, tail and face, barred feathers on wing, tail and/or body as well as contrasting ear area spotting in females, while males have the corresponding feathers unbarred and may lack the ear spotting. Most species in this group are sexually dichromatic.

The fossil record of cockatoos is even more limited than that of parrots in general, with only one truly ancient cockatoo fossil known: a species of Cacatua, most probably subgenus Licmetis, was found in Early Miocene (16–23 million years ago) deposits of Riversleighmarker, Australia. In Melanesia, subfossil bones of Cacatua species which apparently did not survive early human settlement have been found on New Caledoniamarker and New Irelandmarker. The bearing of these fossils on cockatoo evolution and phylogeny is fairly limited, except that the Riversleigh fossil allows some tentative dating of the divergence of subfamilies.

Family Cacatuidae


The cockatoos are generally medium to large parrots of stocky build, which range from 30–60 cm (12–24 in) in length, and 300–1000 g in weight; one species, the Cockatiel, is considerably smaller and slimmer than the other species. All species have an often spectacular movable headcrest, which is raised when the cockatoo lands from flying, or when aroused. Cockatoos share many features with other parrots including the characteristic curved beak shape and a zygodactyl foot, with two forward toes and two backwards toes. They differ, however in a number of characteristics, including the presence of a gall bladder and some other anatomical details, and their lack of the Dyck texture feather composition which causes the bright blues and greens seen in true parrots.

Like other parrots, cockatoos have short legs, strong claws, and walk with a waddle, often using their strong bill as a third limb when climbing through branches. They generally have long broad wings used in rapid flight, with speeds up to 70 km/h being recorded for galahs. The members of the genus Calyptorhynchus, and larger white cockatoos, such as the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Major Mitchell's Cockatoo, have shorter rounder wings and a more leisurely flight.

Cockatoos have large bills which are kept sharp by rasping the two mandibles together when resting. The bills are complemented by large muscular tongues which help manipulate seeds inside the bills so that they can be de-husked before eating. During the de-husking the lower mandible applies the pressure, the tongue holds the seed in place and the upper mandible acts as an anvil. The eye region of the skull is reinforced to support muscles which move the mandibles sideways.

The plumage of the cockatoos is less brightly coloured than that of the other parrots, with species generally being either black, grey or white. Many species have smaller areas of colour on their plumage, often yellow, pink and red, and usually on the crest or tail. The Galah and Major Mitchell's Cockatoo are more broadly coloured in pink tones. Several species have a brightly coloured bare area around the eye and face known as a periophthalmic ring; the large red patch of bare skin of the Palm Cockatoo is the most extensive, and covers some of the face, while it is more restricted in some other species of white cockatoo, notably the corellas and Blue-eyed Cockatoo. The plumage of males and females is similar in most species, the most consistent difference being the slightly larger male bill size—although this is quite marked in the Palm Cockatoo. The plumage of the female Cockatiel is duller than the male, but the most marked sexual dimorphism occurs in the Gang-gang Cockatoo and the two species of black cockatoos in the subgenus Calyptorhynchus, namely the Red-tailed and Glossy Black Cockatoos. The iris colour differs in a few species, being pink or red in the female Galah and Major Mitchell's Cockatoo, and red-brown in some other female white cockatoo species. The males all have dark brown irises.

Cockatoos maintain their plumage with frequent preening throughout the day. They remove dirt and oil and realign feather barbs by nibbling their feathers. Birds also preen each other's feathers which are hard to get at themselves. Cockatoos also produce preen-oil from a gland on their lower back and apply it by wiping their plumage with their heads or already oiled feathers. Powder-down is produced by specialised feathers in the lumbar region, and distributed by the preening cockatoo all over the plumage.

Moulting is very slow and complex. Black cockatoos appear to replace their flight feathers one at a time, their moult taking two years to complete. This process is much shorter in other species such as the Galah and Long-billed Corella, which each take around six months to replace all their flight feathers.


The vocalisations of cockatoos are loud and harsh. They serve a number of functions, including allowing individuals to recognise one another, warning others of predators, indicating individual moods, maintaining the cohesion of a flock and as warnings when defending nests. The use of calls and number of specific calls varies by species; the Short-billed Black Cockatoo has as many as 15 different calls, whereas others, such as Major Mitchell's Cockatoo, have fewer. Some, like the Gang-gang Cockatoo, are comparatively quiet, but do have softer growling calls when feeding. In addition to vocalisations, the Palm Cockatoos communicate over large distances by drumming on a dead branch with a stick. Cockatoo species also make a characteristic hissing sound when threatened.

Distribution and habitat

Cockatoos have a much more restricted range than the true parrots, occurring naturally only in Australasia. Eleven of the 21 species exist in the wild only in Australia, while seven species occur in the islands of Indonesiamarker, New Guineamarker, the Philippinesmarker and the Solomon Islandsmarker. Interestingly, no cockatoo species are found in Borneomarker or many Pacific Islands, although fossil remains have been recorded from New Caledoniamarker.

Three species occur in both New Guinea and Australia. Some species have widespread distributions, for example the Galah occurs over most of Australia, whereas other species have tiny distributions, confined to a small part of the continent, such as the Long-billed Black Cockatoo of Western Australia, or to a small island group, such as the Tanimbar Corella, which is restricted to the Tanimbar Islandsmarker of Indonesia. Some cockatoos have been introduced accidentally to areas outside their natural range such as New Zealandmarker, Singaporemarker, Hong Kongmarker and Palaumarker, while two Australian corella species have been introduced to parts of the continent where they are not native.

Cockatoos occupy a wide range of habitats. The most widespread species are open country specialists that feed on grass seeds. Including species such as the Galah and Cockatiel, they are often highly mobile fast flyers, and are nomadic. Flocks of birds move across large areas of the inland locating and feeding on seed and other food sources. Drought may force flocks from more arid areas to move further into farming areas. Species may also inhabit woodlands, rainforests, shrublands and even alpine forests. Several species have adapted well to human modified habitats, and are found in agricultural areas and even busy cities. The forest-dwelling species, such as the Glossy Black Cockatoo, are generally sedentary.


Cockatoos are diurnal, and require daylight to find their food. They are not early risers, instead waiting until the sun has warmed their roosting sites before feeding. The 21 species are generally highly social and will roost, forage and travel together, often in colourful and noisy flocks. These vary in size depending on availability of food; in times of plenty, flocks are small and number 100 birds or less, while in droughts or other times of adversity, they may swell up to contain thousands or even tens of thousands of birds; one record from the Kimberley noted a flock of 32,000 Little Corellas. Species that inhabit open country form larger flocks than those of forested areas.

All species require roosting sites that are sometimes located near drinking sites, but many species may travel great distances between the roosting sites and feeding sites. Cockatoos have several characteristic methods of bathing; they may hang upside down or fly about in the rain, or flutter in wet leaves in the canopy.

Cockatoos often have pronounced responses to musical sounds, and numerous videos exist showing the birds "dancing" to popular music. Research conducted in 2008 with an Eleonora Cockatoo named Snowball had indicated that this particular individual is indeed capable of beat induction—perceiving human-created music and synchronizing his body movements to the beat.

The Peregrine Falcon and Little Eagle have been reported taking Galahs, and the Wedge-tailed Eagle has been observed killing a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo.

Diet and feeding

Cockatoos are versatile feeders and consume a range of mainly vegetable food items. Seeds form a large part of the diet of all species; these are opened with their large and powerful bills. The Galahs, corellas and some of the black cockatoos feed primarily on the ground, others feed mostly in trees. The ground-feeding species tend to forage in flocks, which form tight, squabbling groups where seeds are concentrated, and dispersed lines where food is more sparsely distributed; they also prefer open areas where visibility is good. The Western and Long-billed Corellas have elongated bills to excavate tubers and roots, and the Major Mitchell's Cockatoo walks in a circle around the doublegree (Emex australis) to twist out and remove the underground parts.

Many species forage for food in the canopy of trees, taking advantage of serotiny (the storage of a large supply of seed in cones or gumnuts by plant genera such as Eucalyptus, Banksia and Hakea), a natural feature of the Australian landscape in dryer regions. These woody fruiting bodies are inaccessible to many species, and harvested in the main by parrots and cockatoos, and rodents in more tropical regions. The larger cones are immune to smaller animals and hence left for the large bills of cockatoos to open. Many nuts and fruits lie on the end of small branches which are unable to support the weight of the foraging cockatoo, which instead bends the branch towards itself and holds it with its foot.

While some cockatoos are generalists taking a wide range of foods, others are specialists. The Glossy Black Cockatoo specialises in the cones of trees of the genus Allocasuarina, often from a single species, which it holds in its foot and shreds with its powerful bill before removing the seeds with its tongue. Some species take large numbers of insects, particularly when breeding; in fact the bulk of the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo's diet is made up of insects. The large bill is used in order to extract grubs and larvae from rotting wood. The amount of time cockatoos have to spend foraging varies with the season. During times of plenty, they may only need to feed for a few hours in the day, in the morning and evening, and spend the rest of the day roosting or preening in trees, but during the winter most of the day may be spent foraging. Food requirements are also increased in breeding season, resulting in more time spent foraging. Cockatoos have large crops, which allow them to store and digest food for some time after retiring to a tree. During hard times the cockatoos also display versatility in their diet, travelling widely in order to find food, feeding on more green plant material and in some species using their large bills to dig up corms.


Cockatoos are monogamous breeders, with pair bonds that can last many years. Many birds pair up in flocks before they reach sexual maturity, and delay breeding for a year at least. Females breed for the first time anywhere from three to seven years of age, and males are often older. Sexual maturity is delayed so birds can develop the skills for raising and parenting young, which is prolonged compared with other birds; the young of some species remain with their parents for up to a year. Cockatoos may also display site fidelity, returning to the same nesting sites in consecutive years. Courtship is generally simple, particularly for established pairs, with the black cockatoos alone engaging in courtship feeding. Established pairs do engage in allopreening, but all forms of courtship drop off after incubation begins, possibly due to the strength of the pair-bond.

Like most parrots the cockatoos are cavity nesters, nesting in holes in trees, which they are unable to excavate themselves. These hollows are formed from decay or destruction of wood by branches breaking off, fungi or insects such as termites, or even woodpeckers where their ranges overlap. In many places these holes are scarce and the source of competition, both with other members of the same species and with other species and types of animal. In general, cockatoos choose hollows only a little larger than themselves, hence different sized-species nest in holes of corresponding (and different) sizes. If given the opportunity, cockatoos prefer nesting over 7 or 8 metres (20–25 ft) above the ground. Nesting sites are also chosen which are close to water and food.

The nesting hollows are lined with sticks, wood chips and branches with leaves. The eggs of cockatoos are oval and initially white as their location makes camouflage unnecessary. However, they do become discoloured over the course of incubation. They range in size from 55 x 37 mm in the Palm and Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, to 26 x 19 mm in the Cockatiel. Clutch size varies within the family, with the Palm Cockatoo and some other larger cockatoos laying only a single egg, and the smaller species laying anywhere between two to eight eggs. Food supply also plays a role in clutch size. Some species can lay a second clutch if the first fails. Around 20% of eggs laid are infertile. The cockatoos' incubation and brooding responsibilities may either be undertaken by the female alone in the case of the black cockatoos, or shared amongst the sexes as happens in the other species. In the case of the black cockatoos, the female is provisioned by the male several times a day. The young of all species are born covered in yellowish down, bar the Palm Cockatoo, whose young are born naked. Cockatoo incubation times are dependent on species size, with the smaller Cockatiels having a period of around 20 days and the larger Short-billed Black Cockatoo incubating its eggs for up to 29 days.

The nestling period also varies by species size, with larger species having longer nestling periods. It is also affected by season and environmental factors, and by competition with siblings in species with clutch sizes greater than one. Much of what is known about the nestling period of some species is dependent on aviary studies – aviary Cockatiels can fledge after 5 weeks and the large Palm Cockatoos after 11 weeks. During this period, the young become covered in juvenile plumage while remaining in the hollow. Wings and tail feathers are slow to grow initially, but more rapid as the primary feathers appear. Nestlings quickly reach about 80–90% of adult weight about two thirds of the time through this period, plateauing before they leave the hollow; they fledge at this weight with wing and tail feathers still to grow a little before reaching adult dimensions. Growth rate of the young, as well as numbers fledged, are adversely impacted by reducing food supply and poor weather conditions.

Predators and threats

Eggs and nestlings are vulnerable to many hazards. Various species of monitor lizard (Varanus) are able to climb trees and enter hollows, other species recorded include the Spotted Wood-owl on Rasa Island in the Philippines, rodents, Amethystine Python and Black Butcherbird in Cape York, and Brushtail Possum on Kangaroo Island. Furthermore, Galahs and Little Corellas competing for nesting space with the Glossy Black Cockatoo on Kangaroo Island have been recorded killing nestlings of the latter species there. Severe storms may also flood hollows and drown young, and termite or borer activity may lead to the internal collapes of nests.

Relationship with humans

Human activities have had positive effects on some species of cockatoo and negative effects on others. Many species of open country have benefited greatly from anthropogenic changes to the landscape, with the great increase in reliable seed food sources and available water, and have also adapted well to a diet including foreign foodstuffs. This benefit appears to be restricted to Australian species, as cockatoos favouring open country outside Australia have not become more abundant. Predominantly forest-dwelling species have suffered greatly from habitat destruction; in the main, they appear to have a more specialised diet and have not been able to incorporate exotic food into their diet. A notable exception is the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo in eastern Australia.


Several species of cockatoo can be serious agricultural pests. They are sometimes controlled by shooting, poisoning or capture followed by gassing. Non-lethal damage mitigation methods used include scaring, habitat manipulation and the provision of decoy food dumps or sacrifice crops to distract them from the main crop. They can be a nuisance in urban areas due to destruction of property. They maintain their bills in the wild by chewing on wood; in suburbia, they may chew outdoor furniture, door and window frames, and soft decorative timbers such as Western Red Cedar are readily demolished. Birds may also target external wiring and fixtures such as solar water heaters, television antennae and satellite dishes. A business in central Melbourne suffered as Sulphur-crested Cockatoos repeatedly stripped the silicone sealant from the plate glass windows. Galahs and Red-tailed Black Cockatoos have stripped electrical cabling in rural areas, and tarpaulin is targeted elsewhere. Outside Australia, the Tanimbar Corella is a pest on Yamdena Islandmarker where it raids maize crops.
In 1995 the Government of the state of Victoriamarker published a report on problems caused by Long-billed Corellas, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Galahs, three species which, along with the Little Corella, have large and growing populations, having benefited from anthropogenic changes to the landscape. Subsequent to the findings and publication of the report, these three species were declared unprotected by a Governor in Council Order, under certain conditions, and are able to be destroyed where serious damage is being caused by them to trees, vineyards, orchards, recreational reserves and commercial crops. Damage covered by the report included not only that to cereal crops, fruit and nut orchards and some kinds of vegetable crops, but also to houses and communications equipment. The Little Corella is a declared pest of agriculture in Western Australia, where it is an aviculturally introduced species. The birds damage sorghum, maize, sunflower, chickpeas and other crops. They also defoliate amenity trees in parks and gardens, dig for edible roots and corms on sports grounds and race tracks, as well as chew wiring and household fittings. In South Australia, where flocks can number several thousand birds and the species is listed as unprotected, they are accused of defoliating Red Gums and other native or ornamental trees used for roosting, damaging tarpaulins on grain bunkers, wiring and flashing on buildings, taking grain from newly seeded paddocks, and creating a noise nuisance.

Several rare species and subspecies too, have been recorded as causing problems. The Short-billed Black Cockatoo, a threatened Western Australianmarker endemic, has been considered a pest in pine plantations where the birds chew off the leading shoots of growing pine trees, resulting in bent trunks and reduced timber value. They are also known to damage nut and fruit crops, and have learnt to exploit Canola crops. The Long-billed Black Cockatoo, also endemic to the south-west of Western Australia, can be a pest in apple and pear orchards where it destroys the fruit to extract the seeds. Muir's Corella, the nominate subspecies of the Western Corella, is also a declared pest of agriculture in Western Australia, as well as being nationally vulnerable and listed under state legislation as being "rare or likely to become extinct".

Status and conservation

According to the IUCN and BirdLife International, eight species of cockatoo are considered to be vulnerable or worse, and one is considered to be near threatened. Of these, two species—the Philippine Cockatoo and the Yellow-crested Cockatoo—are considered to be critically endangered.

The principal threats to cockatoos are habitat loss and the wildlife trade. All cockatoos are dependent on trees for nesting and are vulnerable to their loss, in addition many species have specialised habitat requirements or live on small islands and have naturally small ranges already, making them vulnerable to the loss of these habitats. Cockatoos are popular as pets, and the capture and trade has threatened some species; between 1983 and 1990, 66,654 Salmon-crested Cockatoos were exported from Indonesiamarker, a figure that does not include the number of birds caught for the domestic trade or that were exported illegally. The capture of many species has subsequently been banned, but the trade continues illegally. Birds are put in crates or bamboo tubing and conveyed on boats out of Indonesia and the Philippines. Not only are the rare species smuggled out of Indonesia, but also common and rare cockatoos alike are smuggled out of Australia; birds are sedated, covered in nylon stockings and packed into PVC tubing which is then placed in unaccompanied luggage on international flights. Mortality is significant (30%) and eggs, secreted on the bodies of smugglers on flights, are increasingly smuggled instead. Trafficking is thought to be run by organised gangs, who also trade Australian species for overseas species such as macaws coming the other way. All species of cockatoo are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (also known as CITES), which makes the import, export and trade of wild-caught parrots and cockatoos illegal.

Five cockatoo species (includes all subspecies)—the Tanimbar Corella (Cacatua goffiniana), Red-vented Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia),Moluccan Cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis), Yellow-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea), and Palm Cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus) are protected on the CITES appendix I list of endangered species. All other cockatoo species bar the Cockatiel are protected on the CITES Appendix II list of vulnerable species.


Cockatoos can be problematic pets or companion parrots, but they may be kept for their appearance, their intelligence, and engaging personalities. Generally, cockatoos are not good at mimicking human speech. However, the Little Corella is a renowned talker. Their care is best provided by those very experienced in keeping parrots. Cockatoos are social animals and their social needs are difficult to cater for,Low R, p. 16 and they can suffer if kept in a cage for long periods of time on their own.Low R, p. 23 The white cockatoos are more usually encountered in aviculture than the black cockatoos.

Cockatoos are often very affectionate with their owner and at times others, but can be very demanding for attention. Furthermore, their intense curiosity means they must be given a steady supply of objects to tinker with, chew, dismantle and destroy. Boredom may lead to feather-plucking and the development of stereotypic behaviour patterns. Cockatoos are capable of very strong and painful bites. Another major drawback as a pet is the fact that most cockatoo species are very loud birds, with extremely piercing screeches. The Salmon-crested, and White Cockatoo species are most problematic in this regard. All cockatoos have a fine powder on their feathers, which may induce allergies in certain people.

Cockatoos are capable of living up to 30–70 years depending upon the species (around 20 years for the smaller Cockatiels) and as such they require a long term commitment from their owners. Their longevity is considered a positive trait as it reduces instances of the loss of a pet. Cocky Bennett of Tom Ugly's Pointmarker in Sydney was a celebrated Sulphur-crested Cockatoo who reached an age of 100 years or more. He had lost his feathers and was naked for much of his life. A Little Corella that was removed from a nest in central Australia in 1904 was reported still alive in the late 1970s.

A pet male Cockatiel.
Including its pointed tail the Cockatiel is about 32 cm (12 in) long, and it is by far the lightest cockatoo at 80–100gm.
Cockatoos are sometimes seen in bird shows, and they can also be trained as pets. Cockatoos are generally less motivated by food than other birds; some birds may be more motivated by a reward of petting or praise than of food. Cockatoos can often be trained to accept a parrot harness, enabling their owners to take them outdoors. Cockatoos have been used in animal-assisted therapy, generally in nursing homes.

In general, the smaller cockatoo species such as Galahs and Goffin's Cockatoos are considered to be much easier to keep as pets, the former being less prone to the loud screeching of larger species. The smallest species of cockatoo, the Cockatiel is among the most popular of all parrots in captivity. Good-natured and docile, it ranks among the easiest of parrots to look after as a pet. There are many colour mutations seen in aviculture.

Popular culture

Cockatoos were painted by Hungarian artist Jakob Bogdani (1660–1724), who resided in Amsterdam from 1683 and then England. They were among the many Australian plants and animals which featured in decorative motifs in Federation architecture on the early 20th century.

The Palm Cockatoo, which has a unique beak and face colouration, is used as a symbol by the World Parrot Trust.

Cockatoos have been used frequently in advertising; a cockatoo appeared recently in a 'cheeky' advertising campaign for Cockatoo Ridge Wineries. The advertisement featured former Miss Australia Erin McNaught with a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo perched on her shoulder, beside the sexually implicit slogan "She loves a cockatoo". The advertisement received mixed reactions from the public. It was later pulled from circulation in favour of an alternative picture beside the slogan ' Who's a cheeky girl, then? '—a common expression taught to domesticated cockatoos.


  1. Christidis and Boles, p. 148
  2. Christidis and Boles, p. 200
  3. Astuti, Dwi (2004): A phylogeny of cockatoos (Aves: Psittaciformes) inferred from DNA sequences of the seventh intron of nuclear β-fibrinogen gene. Doctoral work, Graduate School of Environmental Earth Science, Hokkaido University, Japan.[1]
  4. Forshaw (2006). plate 1.
  5. Cameron, p. 1
  6. Cameron, p. 57
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  13. Cameron, p. 86
  14. Cameron, p. 3
  15. Cameron, pp. 103–104
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  18. Forshaw (1978), p. 110
  19. Cameron, p. 118-19
  20. Cameron, p. 113
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  22. Cameron, p. 114
  23. Cameron, pp. 122–123
  24. Cameron, pp. 143–144
  25. Cameron, p. 129
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  27. Cameron, p. 131
  28. Cameron, p. 137
  29. Cameron, p. 138
  30. Cameron, p. 139
  31. Cameron, p. 147
  32. Cameron, pp. 139–140
  33. Cameron, p. 141
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  42. Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation, Fauna Note No.20: Little Corella.[3]
  43. South Australian Department for Environment and Heritage. Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea): Resource document.[4]
  44. Saunders, Denis. (2005). “Conserving Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo: historical background on changing status”. Pp.9–18 in: Gole, Cheryl. (Ed.). (2005). Conserving Carnaby's black-cockatoo – future directions: proceedings from a conservation symposium, Perth, Western Australia, 2 July 2003. Birds Australia WA Inc: Perth. ISBN 0-9751429-0-9[5]
  45. Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts: Species Profile and Threats Database: Calyptorhynchus latirostris.[6]
  46. Cameron, p. 22
  47. Anon. (2007). Muir’s Corella. (Fauna Note No.4). Department of Environment and Conservation, Western Australia.[7]
  48. Cameron, p. 178
  49. Cameron, p. 164
  50. Cameron, p. 166
  51. Cameron, p. 169
  52. Forshaw (2006). plate 4.
  53. Lendon, p. 97
  54. Athan, p. 84
  55. Athan, p. 86
  56. Athan, p. 87
  57. Athan, p. 91
  58. Athan, p. 92
  59. Lendon, p. xxvi
  60. Forshaw (1978), p. 29
  61. Forshaw (2006). plate 6.
  62. Lendon, p. 107
  63. Lendon, p. 112
  64. Athan, p. 93

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