Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
fast facts

About Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

13 inches
up to 80 years
Bird Species
Vocal,Talking, Mimics, Natural calls, Noisy, Loud
Social, Affectionate, Fun, Energetic, Cuddly
Comparable Breeds
Moluccan Cockatoo, Major Mitchell's Cockatoo
Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo General Info

The Lesser Sulphur Crested cockatoo is a bird with a genuine and loveable personality, but they have a bit of a sad story. With numbers rapidly declining and protective measures being introduced, these lively cockatoos are struggling for survival in the wild. They are often mistaken for some very similar cockatoo breeds, despite having a lot of distinctive traits. So let’s learn more about these parrots and understand what kind of pets they actually are.

Despite their popularity and affectionate nature, these cockatoos are one of the most endangered exotic birds today.

Native Region/Natural Habitat

Like some of the related cockatoo breeds, the Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is originally found on Sulawesi and Lesser Sunda islands. These islands are part of East Timor and Indonesia and are home to many exotic parrots. Due to extensive illegal trapping, these parrots have been proclaimed as critically endangered. This designation is the last step before extinction. With just a few thousand remaining birds, survival in the wild is in question.

Another, introduced population, exists in Hong Kong. It grew from a small number of caged parrots, released into the city just before Japanese invasion in 1941.

Overall Description

Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is considered to be a medium-sized bird, and these birds share their general appearance with other close related cockatoo breeds. The adults reach an average length of 13 inches (34 centimeters) and both sexes are almost identical. They have all the visual traits of cockatoos – the prominent, bulging forehead, a stubby beak, distinct eyes and the iconic crest. Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoos also have a remarkable wingspan, so ensure a plenty of free space for your pet.

Speech and Sounds

Before committing to a pet cockatoo, you might want to know that they can be very, very loud. Even if they might not be the best talkers, they can repeat a few words coherently. The rest of the noise comes from their loud attempts to mimic human speech and conversations. This results in a noisy, repetitive and always funny flood of mumbled words, yells and even screams. With a little patience, you can get used to these silly outbursts of noise, but your neighbors might not – that’s why cockatoos are not apartment birds!


Exotic and colorful looks are not always the measure of beauty for a parrot. The best proof of this is the simple and elegant look of the Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. The body is entirely white, with slight yellowish tinges on the wing tips and underneath the tails. The distinct crest is prominent and bright yellow. Another cute detail is the two pale yellow circles on the cheeks. This simple look is pronounced with the gray feet and beak. Although it’s lacking a diversity in colors, this cockatoo is still a very pretty and charming bird.

Simple is not always dull. The Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo looks elegant and graceful with their pure white plumage.

Care and Feeding

In the wild, these cockatoos thrive on a variety of insects, seeds, flower buds and fruits. A seed-based mix for cockatoos will be a great choice for your pet’s diet. But it won’t be enough. Most of the important vitamins and proteins are found in added fruits and vegetables. So don’t hesitate to introduce apples, oranges, cabbage, and carrots to their diet. Cockatoos have powerful beaks that sometimes need trimming. A natural, affordable, and a healthy way to do this is with a cuttlebone.

Health and Common Conditions

Cockatoos are hardy and well-built birds and thanks to this, they usually have no serious health issues. Their biggest threats are the skin and feather diseases that can often lead to further complications. Proper hygiene can help prevent these issues. So don’t hesitate to offer regular baths to your cockatoo. This can be through bathing dishes, or even better – in the shower.

Feather diseases are a threat to Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. Don’t forget to maintain a regular and thorough hygiene.

Personality & Behavior

There are so many traits that make cockatoos a loved pet all over the world. Always ready for fun and goofing off, they can also be very affectionate and bonding, with a large appetite for cuddling. The only thing that might require your patience is the level of noise we mentioned. A good amount of toys can do well do keep your pet occupied and entertained, but remember that it can’t replace social interaction. Provided that you don’t mind the loud nature of these birds, the sweet and friendly Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo can make a wonderful companion.

Photo credit: Nicky Rhodes/Shutterstock; kunanon/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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