Palm Cockatoo

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
fast facts

About Palm Cockatoo

24 inches
50-90 years
Bird Species
Black with red cheeks
Vocal, Loud, Mimicking
Affectionate, Intelligent, Playful, Territorial, Temperamental
Comparable Breeds
Eclectus Parrot, Hawk-Headed Parrot
Palm Cockatoo General Info

Without any doubt whatsoever, the Palm cockatoo is one of the most unique and sought-after parrots you can meet. These super rare cockatoos will leave everyone speechless with their intriguing look which is as intimidating as it is beautiful. But underneath the beautiful display lies a loving and affectionate pet with a lot of good traits which they share with other, more common cockatoos. If you manage to get one as your pet, there will be a lot you need to know, so read on!

The unique Palm cockatoo never stops to amaze with its magnificent look and is a very rare sight.

Native Region/Natural Habitat

There are a lot of unusual and interesting birds native to Oceania. The Palm cockatoo is one of these. Its native habitat is reserved to New Guinea, Australia’s Cape York, and the Aru Islands. There, it inhabits the lush rainforests and woodlands abundant in the area. These parrots are rarely seen in large groups, preferring to flock in pairs. One unique fact is related to their breeding – they lay only one egg, every other year. They have the lowest breeding rate of any extant parrot! This is one of the contributing facts to their overall rarity.

Overall Description

Palm cockatoos can’t be compared to any other parrot when it comes to their appearance. They are utterly unique, and a lot of weird details make them so. The average length of adults is around 24 inches (60 centimeters), and they retain the short, round tail of the cockatoo family. They also have a distinctive, pointy crest which is raised and lowered according to the bird’s mood. But one of the most interesting parts is their beak. They have the second largest beak of any parrot – a huge and powerful upper mandible which doesn’t really connect to the lower part. They are separated by a large mouth and a protruding, muscular tongue. A perfect design for breaking nuts and reaching into tricky places!

Speech and Sounds

Like other cockatoos, they too can be loud and noisy, if they don’t get a lot of attention. They also have a much more complex vocal ability, and they can learn and repeat several common words. But mostly, they express themselves with loud and clear vocal tones – calmer if they are happy, or louder if they are angry. With their enormous size and possible levels of noise, cockatoos are best kept in a house setting.


These parrots are entirely black. The beak, the plumage, and the eyes as well. The only other color is the red patch of bare skin on their cheeks, similar to the macaws. While this coloration sounds simple, and it is, these cockatoos still look magnificent, if not a little intimidating with their huge and sharp beak and the iconic combination of red and black. In any case, they will not fail to captivate you and everyone who meets them.

A simple combination of black plumage with red cheeks makes the iconic look of the Palm cockatoo.

Care and Feeding

Those large beaks are there with a purpose. In the wild, these cockatoos feed on palm fruits, large nuts, and seeds as well. They are very efficient in breaking open nuts with a hard shell and reaching for the goodies inside. Their diet as pets might be trickier. It’s best to offer a special pellet based diet and a good variety of nuts, vegetables, and fruits such as peanuts, walnuts, apples, cabbage, and kale. Better equipped pet stores should have all you need when it comes to the best seed mixes for Palm cockatoos.

Health and Common Conditions

These parrots are very hardy and enduring and have a lifespan of 60 years on average. Although, some sources claim they can live up to 90 years as well! Luckily, with plenty of care and interaction, they will be free of sickness. Take into account some of the more common symptoms of trouble – apathy, loss of feathers or difficult, rasping breathing.

With a very long lifespan, your pet Palm cockatoo can become a lifelong friend and a part of your family.

Personality & Behavior

Palm cockatoos are very intelligent and have quite an attitude. It might take some time to get to know each other and get into a routine of what works best for them. While they are considered affectionate and loving, they can become spoiled and throw a tantrum if something is not as they want it. That’s why you’ll need to show some attitude as well.

But in the end, these big parrots can become loving and playful friends that will keep you entertained. They are a bit rare though, and when on sale, the price can reach up to $16,000 per bird.

Photo credit: Elena11/Shutterstock; tfjunction/Shutterstock; Eric Isselee/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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