The sulphur-crested cockatoo is a large white cockatoo with a trademark yellow crest that is relatively common in the eastern and northern states of Australia. There are in fact two subspecies of this bird, the greater and the Lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo. As you might expect from their names the greater sulphur-crested cockatoo is much larger, standing almost half a metre tall with the Lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo being much smaller at roughly 35 cm in height.

Being native to much of the east and north of Australia where most of Australia’s population resides, they are well-suited as both indoor or outdoor pets in this area. But there is a lot to consider before choosing a sulphur requested cockatoo is a pet: –

  • Sulphur-crested cockatoos can be very very loud. Your neighbours for some distance around will know that you have a sulphur-crested cockatoo. Keeping your cockatoo or outside may result in more peace for you, but less to your neighbours and there is little doubt wild cockatoos will be attracted to the sound of your domestic cockatoo.
  • Cockatoos are forever – they have been known to live up to 80 years in captivity. Most won’t live that long but they will certainly outlive any child’s interests. These are a pet most suited to a family that intends to keep them for the lifetime of the adults in the family.

The fun Parts of Having a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
Assuming they have been hand-reared expect your sulphur-crested cockatoo to be sweet and affectionate. They will love your company and enjoy being handled. They are excellent talkers and are easily trained to mimic all manner of speech and whistles. They can also be trained to do tricks such as ride a mini skateboard or slide down a mini slippery slide – they seemed to enjoy anything that revolves around them being the centre of attention.

Easily the most distinctive and well-known of the cockatoos the sulphur-crested cockatoo is primarily white, have black beaks and now topped with an impressive yellow crest which they can raise and lower as they wish.

Sulphur-crested cockatoos are grain, seed and insect eaters which they spend most of their day harvesting in the wild. In captivity, it is your role to try and manage this diet with a combination of pellets and seed fresh vegetables and fruits and the like. It is most important to give your sulphur-crested cockatoo a widely varied diet that meets its nutritional needs. Parrot seed alone will not suffice and they will quickly show the effects of poor nutrition through feather loss, problems with their bones and a generally unhealthy appearance.

Sulphur-crested cockatoos are very active energetic and lively birds and thus they require high levels of exercise to maintain optimum health. If you are keeping your sulphur-crested cockatoo in an aviary, there should be areas in the sun and in the shade plus a large area for them to fly around in. If you are keeping your cockatoo in a cage inside, the cage should be large enough for them to spread their wings in the cage, there should be multiple perches and toys to play with and they will still require time out of the cage of least three to four hours per day. This out of cage time is essential for maintaining strength in their wings and bone density. They should have access to sunlight whilst outside the cage so they can absorb vitamin D

Sulpher Crested Cockatoos as Pets:
A sulphur-crested cockatoo is a high maintenance pet, much more work than a dog or a cat. They are very social and thrive on affection and are not suited to houses where the owners are all away during the day.

They are much more suited to homes where there is someone to keep them company all of the time – in such situations they will be friends, entertainer and joker.

Sulphur-crested cockatoos are not given sufficient mental and physical stimulation may suffer from depression which will cause them to exhibit feather plucking behaviour.

We don’t recommend sulphur-crested cockatoos be bought by the novice bird enthusiasts or on a whim after seeing one in a pet shop that you can give them the time they’ll give you many hours of love affection and enjoyment in return.

Veterinary Surgeon, London at Blue Cross UK | + posts

A London based Veterinary surgeon, Sanja is also an avid writer and pet advocate.