Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
fast facts

About Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

17 to 21 inches
70-100 years
Bird Species
Vocal, Noisy, Loud, Mimics, Natural calls, Talkative
Social, Energetic, Affectionate, Fun, Silly, Intelligent
Comparable Breeds
Double Yellow Headed Amazon, African Grey Parrot
Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo General Info

The Sulphur Crested Cockatoos are without a doubt the most popular of all the cockatoo breeds and are one of the most common birds of Australia. They are mostly similar to some closely related breeds in the species when it comes to their appearance, and share an equally fun behavior. These very large and very intelligent birds are loved for their funny and cheeky personality! But you’ll have to keep in mind that pet cockatoos can be very noisy and are a lifelong commitment, sometimes even generational one – as they can often live for a hundred years.

Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is a lifelong commitment. A hundred years of age is not so strange for a cockatoo.

Native Region/Natural Habitat

These parrots are one of Australia’s most iconic animals and almost act as a national symbol, thanks to their popularity. Their habitat stretches through most of the eastern half of the Australian continent, from the Kimberley up north, to Tasmania in the south. They are also seen all over New Guinea. In every major city in Australia, these parrots are a common sight in the suburban areas. So much so, that they are sometimes even considered as pests.

Overall Description

These large birds keep all the major physical traits of the similar cockatoo breeds like the Moluccan and Yellow crested cockatoos. The adults reach an average length from 17 to 21 inches (44 to 55 centimeters) and can weigh up to 1.8 pounds (800 grams). This hefty size puts them amongst the world’s largest parrots. Additionally, this means that you will need to provide a very big cage for sleeping, and free movement around the house during the day.

Speech and Sounds

Here is where things become fun. Cockatoos are definitely a house-only pet, due to their talkative and loud personality, and Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is no different. Besides the ability to perfectly repeat words and sentences, they will also attempt to imitate human conversations in a noisy, mumbling and chaotic tone. This can sometimes go on for quite a while, so a bit of patience is required. But don’t get a wrong impression – this doesn’t happen always, and they can be quiet for equally long periods of time. One of the world’s oldest cockatoos – Cocky Bennett – was famous for his witty and intelligent remarks. He was 120 years old.


Cockatoos are almost always simply colored. The Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is entirely white, the only exception being their bright yellow crest – their iconic trait. The males and females are identical, with just a few minor differences in the eyes which are really hard to spot. While some might dislike the lack of bright colors and exotic details, no one can deny that these birds are elegant and graceful.

Being entirely white, Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoos have an elegant and simple appearance.

Care and Feeding

Most pet stores have a good variety of commercial seed based mixes designed for cockatoos. This is the best choice to start a balanced diet for your Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. But in order to balance it all out, you will need to add a regular amount of fresh fruits and vegetables, and cooked rice, corn, and chicken as well. These tasty treats are perfect and healthy goodies for your pet. Make sure that the food is always fresh and the remnants quickly removed to prevent spoiling.

Health and Common Conditions

As can be judged from their great size, these robust birds have a strong health. Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

will adapt without a problem to most common conditions, but will still require some of your attention and care in order to thrive. Besides exercise, you will need to provide regular baths. They will prevent one of the common diseases amongst cockatoos – the psittacine beak and feather disease. This causes complete loss of feathers and can often involve further complications and death. By providing good hygiene and regular check-ups, you will actively prevent this sickness.

For large birds like the Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, hygiene is a number one priority. Don’t skip on the baths.

Personality & Behavior

If you don’t mind having a loud and very talkative pet, you will get the opportunity to enjoy one of the most interesting personalities in the world of aviculture. Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is a very smart and fun-loving parrot, with a knack for tricks and naughty behavior. While they are not destructive, they can be cheeky and nippy in a playful, pretending way. In general, they have a personality that is easy to fall in love with – all the way from their silly, chatty antics, to the affectionate and cuddly episodes. That’s why the Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is amongst the most popular pet parrots today.

Photo credit: RAJU SONI/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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