Slender-billed cockatoos may be overlooked by many bird lovers, but these birds have charming, endearing personalities. Among all cockatoos, this species is deemed the best talker, with some learning complete, clear sentences.
While they're a popular pet in their native Australia, they are becoming better known in other parts of the world. If you're looking for a bird that will surely become your best-feathered friend, this is definitely one to consider as long as you can live up to its demands.
Common Names: Slender-billed cockatoo, long-billed cockatoo, long-billed corella
Scientific Name: Cacatua tenuirostris
Adult Size: 18 and 20 inches, weighing about 1.5 pounds
Life Expectancy: 50 years
All cockatoos are native to Australia and the slender-billed calls southeastern Australia home. They prefer woodlands and open fields and will often be seen in very large flocks estimated at over 1,000 birds.
During the mating season, pairs will go off to build a nest near water in eucalyptus trees or rocky cliffs. The couple will spend their lives together and if one is lost, the other will most likely feel great sadness.
Slender-billed cockatoos are also considered a nuisance by some in Australia. The massive flocks can easily destroy a farmer's crops, so there is a history of poisoning the birds. Also, urban populations have grown near Perth and Sydney, in particular. This is mostly due to the release of pet birds that were no longer wanted.
Compared to other cockatoos, the slender-billed may make the best pet. It seems like this bird has everything going for it that people find too much to handle in the other birds.
While slender-bill cockatoos are extremely affectionate, they're also one of the more independent cockatoos. That does not mean they don't crave attention, because that's still a requirement for this parrot. In the wild, they're used to mating for life and once this bird finds that replacement in his caregiver, he's yours forever.
This also means that the slender-billed is sensitive and, at the same time, friendly and outgoing. Their antics will keep you entertained for hours.
Among cockatoos, this species is touted as having extraordinary speech abilities. On the flip side, they're considered a "quiet" parrot and, in the least, do not scream as loudly or as often as most.
Slender-Billed Cockatoo Colors and Markings
Slender-billed cockatoos are a stocky bird with a somewhat comical appearance. Their beak is very long and their crest very small, so it's almost hard to recognize them as a member of the cockatoo family.
This bird's feathers are mostly white with a salmon-pink cast. They have patches of bright pink just above the beak and on the neck, giving their face both a mask and a collar. The feathers on the wings and short tail are white with pale yellow undersides that are most visible in flight.
Unlike many cockatoos, this species does not have a noticeable crest. It is very short and, when not fanned out, you will hardly be able to see it.
These birds have gray legs and a grayish-white beak that is long and slender, perfect for digging up roots in the wild. They also have a baby blue eye ring.
It's a monomorphic bird, so DNA sexing is the only way to tell males from females. If you look closely, however, you may notice that a mature (at least 5 years old) female has a brown iris while a male has a black iris.
Caring for Slender-Billed Cockatoos
Don't adopt a slender-billed cockatoo unless you want an affectionate pet. These birds crave interaction with their owners and require daily handling and socialization to maintain their emotional health.
Slender-billed cockatoos that feel neglected will sometimes resort to destructive behavior. For the bird's well-being, it's very important that potential owners make sure they have lots of time to spend with one before bringing a slender-billed cockatoo home.
Since they are large birds, these cockatoos require a large cage. To keep one comfortably, the minimum cage size should be three-foot square, but larger is always better. Many cockatoo owners also find it convenient to invest in a parrot play stand that can be moved from room to room. These birds love to spend time near their owners and the stand ensures he's kept busy while feeling close to the action.
Around the time that they reach sexual maturity, male slender-billed cockatoos may go through an aggressive stage. It's normal among parrots and should be dealt with using patience and the training you've established. For this reason, these don't make great family pets if you have young children.
Cockatoos naturally produce a powdery down that helps keep the feathers clean. This will appear anywhere your bird is and may irritate any allergies your family members have.
It's a good idea to contact local breeders to see if you can spend some time with their birds. Talking to someone experienced in keeping these cockatoos will help you decide if they are a good match for your home.
Feeding Slender-Billed Cockatoos
Like all cockatoos, slender-billed cockatoos are prone to weight gain, so owners should monitor their fat intake. A healthy diet should consist of high-quality pellets, a moderate amount of seed mix, and daily helpings of fresh bird-safe fruits and vegetables.
Slender-billed cockatoos need plenty of exercise in order to stay healthy. Owners should make sure that their birds get a minimum of three to four hours outside of the cage each day to stretch their muscles and play. This will ensure that the bird maintains peak mental and physical health.
Additionally, these cockatoos can be destructive because they're naturally curious and like to chew on whatever they find. Training and close supervision when out of the cage are essential to protecting anything valuable in your home, including wood furniture. To encourage good chewing habits, have a ready supply of bird-appropriate toys for them to destroy instead and replace the toys regularly.
More Pet Bird Species and Further Research
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Otherwise, check out all of our other cockatoo bird species profiles.