In Focus – Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Status: Least Concern

Geographical Region: Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Singapore and Hawaii

Meaning of name: Upward sweeping yellow crest 

Habitat: Forested areas 

Threats: Poaching, farmers 

Left in Wild:Unknown, but abundant

visitors at my place

The sulphur crested cockatoo is a member of the parrot group of birds. Although this species of cockatoo is known as an Australian bird, they have become established in many other countries including as far north as Hawaii.  They are one of the most prolific cockatoos in Australia spreading from south, north and west of the continent. The sulphur crested cockatoo is a protected species across Australia but has an ominous reputation for destroying crops, fruit trees, even houses and agricultural equipment due to their need to chew on almost anything.


There are four subspecies of the sulphur crested cockatoo with location being the main differing factor of all four. Male and females look almost identical except for eye colour. Females have reddish brown eyes and males have dark brown eyes. Males also can be slightly larger than the female.

A sulphur crested cockatoo won’t hit sexual maturity until they are at least 6 to 7 years old. After some bobbing of heads, mutual preening, beak touching and then mating the female can lay up to 6 eggs. Both males and females will participate in the incubation period that takes approximately 30 days. The young will leave the nest within 8 weeks after hatching.

Regular visitor at my place


The sulphur crested cockatoo is a popular pet and an extremely intelligent bird. They can have a vocabulary up to 400 words. They are also incredibly demanding, noisy, destructive and notorious for their jealous tendencies. They have a life expectancy of approximately 60 years however they have been known to live for over 100 years. Why anybody would want a screeching demanding animal that will ultimately learn how to swear at you whilst demanding to be fed is beyond me – but good luck with that!

Stu’s Zoo Pick for the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Like most parrot enclosures at zoos I have never really seen a sulphur crested cockatoo enclosure that I have liked.  These birds are very social and intelligent animals, I find it difficult to understand why they are placed in small enclosures by themselves.  In one of my previous posts I focused on why some zoos still placed birds in less than acceptable enclosures.  As you can see by the photo below – Alma Park Zoo is one of those zoos.  With so many sulphur crested cockatoos flying free around this area including the Alma Park Zoo. I don’t see why this little guy had to be locked up on his own, if locked up at all in an area with such a prolific population. 

Alma Park Zoo



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