Several cockatoo species are commonly kept as pets, but these members of the parrot family are not the easiest birds to care for. While they sport very attractive plumage, they need lots of attention and can be quite noisy. If you're undeterred by the downsides of living with this type of bird, here are 10 of the most popular pet cockatoo species.
Cockatoos are affectionately known as "velcro birds" because they love spending time with their caretakers. But if they feel neglected, they can become depressed and resort to destructive behaviors.
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The bare-eyed cockatoo might not be the prettiest parrot, but it makes up for it in personality. Sweet, playful, and intelligent, these birds are smaller than many cockatoo species. This makes them a good option for families with children and those who lack the space to accommodate a large parrot.
Length: 14 to 17 inches
Weight: 11 to 16 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Primarily white; pink on face; gray-tan beak; gray-blue eye circles
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Black palm cockatoos are large, powerful birds that require a caretaker with ample parrot experience. While hand-fed black palm cockatoos can make excellent pets, they still require firm training to keep them tame. These are bold parrots that need bold owners who aren't intimidated by that massive beak.
Length: 23 inches
Weight: 32 to 42 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Smoky gray plumage; long crest; gray feet and beak; red patches on cheeks
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Citron cockatoos are quieter than most cockatoo species. However, they have big personalities and love to play and interact with their caretakers. Inquisitive and affectionate, a citron cockatoo will want to be by your side all day long. So be prepared to spend several hours per day with this bird.
Length: 14 inches
Weight: 16 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Primarily white; orange cheek patches; yellow under wings and tail; orange crest; gray feet and beak
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Sulphur-crested cockatoos are highly intelligent and need plenty of space to play. Unless these birds are given adequate exercise and mental stimulation, they might resort to behaviors, such as feather picking and destructive chewing. Caretakers must provide their birds with plenty of toys and several hours of attention each day.
Length: 15 to 20 inches
Weight: 12 to 31 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Primarily white; yellow crest; black beakContinue to 5 of 10 below.
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Goffin's cockatoos require as much daily socialization as possible for their emotional health. These birds simply cannot thrive if they are neglected and will resort to destructive behaviors if their social needs aren't met. Because they are intelligent and slightly mischievous, these birds are recommended for people who have experience with large parrots.
Length: 13 inches
Weight: 8 to 14 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Primarily white; pink on sides of beak; pink near crest; yellow under wings; gray feet and beak
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The Major Mitchell's cockatoo is an attractive and intelligent bird that is known for its colorful crest. While they are a sight to see, these cockatoos need specialized care and large enclosures that not all people can accommodate. They also are recommended for those who are familiar with large parrots.
Length: 14 inches
Weight: 15 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Primarily pinkish-white; pink patches around neck and on underbelly; pink under wings; pink and yellow-orange crest with white tips
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Moluccan cockatoos are affectionate birds that bond strongly with their caretakers. Those interested in a Moluccan cockatoo should expect a cuddly and somewhat clingy feathered friend, as these birds like to stay close to their favorite humans. Thus, they require a person who is home for most of the day.
Length: 20 inches
Weight: 30 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Primarily white plumage; pink feathers on base of crest; yellow to peach feathers under wings; black beak and feet
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Their striking pink and gray feathers and friendly personalities have made rose-breasted cockatoos popular pets. These birds can live up to 80 years in captivity with proper care. Also known as galahs, they tend to be loud and bold, so don't expect a quiet companion if you bring one home.
Length: 12 to 15 inches
Weight: 10 to 14 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Pink chest and lower part of face; pinkish-white crest; gray back, wings, and tail; gray feet; tan beakContinue to 9 of 10 below.
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Hand-fed umbrella cockatoos can be friendly, well-behaved pets. Many learn to do tricks and can mimic speech quite well. But as highly social birds, they tend to be very affectionate and even borderline obsessive about spending time with their favorite people. Still, many are beloved family pets gentle enough for older children.
Length: 18 inches
Weight: 16 to 26 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Primarily white plumage; pale yellow on wings and tail; large white crest; black beak
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Slender-billed cockatoos, also known as long-billed corellas, long have been popular pets in their native Australia and are beginning to attract fans around the world. The needs of this cockatoo are similar to those of other large parrots. They crave interaction with their caretakers and require daily handling to maintain their emotional health.
Length: 16 to 20 inches
Weight: 23 ounces
Physical Characteristics: White plumage with pink cast; pink above beak and on neck; long beak; small crest