Citron Crested Cockatoo

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
fast facts

About Citron Crested Cockatoo

13 inches
50+ years
Bird Species
Vocal, Harsh Natural calls, Mimics, Talkative
Social, Fun, Affectionate, Energetic, Friendly
Comparable Breeds
Hyacinth Macaw, Major Mitchell's Cockatoo
Citron Crested Cockatoo General Info

Found in a small and isolated region in Indonesia, these rare and endangered parrots are without a doubt one of the prettiest Cockatoo breeds. Citron Crested Cockatoo is noticeably quieter than its cousins but equally as friendly and playful. They are easy to love and easy to care for! And if you add their charming and elegant looks, you’ll have a pet parrot that is close to perfection. This is just the pet for anyone looking for an entertaining and affectionate parrot with a strong personality. Let’s learn more about these prized cockatoos!

If you’re looking for a friendly and fun pet – a Citron Crested Cockatoo is the bird breed to choose.

Native Region/Natural Habitat

The populations of these parrots are isolated and exclusive to the Sumba island in the east of Indonesia. They prefer the regional tropical forests, sparse woodlands and also the agricultural properties. Sadly, the Citron Crested cockatoos are a critically endangered breed in the wild. Their numbers are as low as ~600 birds in total. This is a result of prolonged deforestation, habitat loss, and illegal trapping. Still, these parrots endure in the aviculture, thanks to the efforts of bird lovers across the world.

Overall Description

Being almost identical to the closely related cockatoo breeds, namely the Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, there is not a lot of difference among these parrots, and it is easy to confuse them. Still, there are just a few minor details that can tell you that you’re dealing with a Citron Crested Cockatoo. The adults reach an average length of 13 inches (33 centimeters) and can weigh up to 13 ounces (380 grams). This is an average for most cockatoos. Both males and females are nearly identical, but the color of the eyes can set them apart. Males have very dark, black eyes, whereas females have light brown irises.

Speech and Sounds

There is an important subject that comes up when cockatoos are talked about – their noisiness. They are known to be very vocal and talkative, and as loud as a parrot can be. Luckily, the Citron Crested Cockatoo is well known as the quieter of the bunch. This comes as a relief for those who would prefer their pet bird to be less loud. But still, you can expect an occasional high pitched screech or a similar vocal expression that can surprise you. Keep this in mind if you live in an apartment. They are also great mimics and can learn to repeat words to some extent, but the result is often a flood of silly words.


The first thing you realize about most Cockatoo breeds is their lack of exotic colors. For the most part, they are simple, single color birds, but with a big dose of elegance and a peculiar charm. Citron Crested Cockatoo is entirely white, with pale yellow tones on the underside of the large wing and tail feathers. These are only seen in flight. They have small round yellow patches on the cheeks, giving them somewhat of a blushing look. The crowning feature of these parrots is their graceful, pale orange crest which gives them their name. It is a prominent, curved crest of feathers that is the distinguishing feature of these parrots. It often expands to show the mood of your pet.

Simplicity is often beautiful. These white, graceful parrots are charming, even if they lack a lot of colors.

Care and Feeding

In the wild, these cockatoos feed on a rich and varied diet. It consists of fruits, insects, nectar, and seeds. They often feed at coconut plantations and destroy crops. This is just another result of habitat loss.

To reach a balanced diet for your pet, you can begin with a commercial seed mix for cockatoos. Being big and robust birds, they will need proteins in their food. That’s why you should add a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, but cooked rice and chicken meat are a must as well. Citron Crested Cockatoo is not picky and will eat almost anything you offer. Just be careful – obesity is a possible issue!

Health and Common Conditions

These large parrots are robust and hardy – a fact easily presumed from their size. With optimal conditions and good care, they can live for more than 50 years, making them good companions and longtime friends. They thrive in most common conditions. Two of the common problems to pay attention to are obesity and feather plucking. A neglected, lonesome and traumatized cockatoo can develop big issues and pick most of its feathers off. Be ready to commit to your pet and provide attention, care, and social interaction.

These large parrots will require plenty of protein in their diet. Feel free to offer cooked chicken, rice, fish and carrots.

Personality & Behavior

One of the friendliest cockatoos, these lovely and affectionate parrots are always highly sought after in the pet market. Citron Crested Cockatoo makes a great pet and a loving companion, and are often popular with singles. But in general, they are best suited as a family pet. It ensures they get the constant attention and plenty of interaction- both of which they crave. They will form a bond with their favorite person and are great around children. Being energetic, fun and playful, they will need a lot of toys. They like to chew, so make sure your items are out of reach. All in all, if you’re looking for a friendly and fun pet – a Citron Crested cockatoo is the one to choose.

Photo credit: Alan Tunnicliffe/Shutterstock; Alexander Yu. Zotov/Shutterstock; Vladimir Wrangel/Shutterstock

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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