Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
fast facts

About Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

20 inches
65+ years
Bird Species
Vocal, Loud, Mimics, Talkative, Noisy
Social, Fun, Friendly, Cuddly, Affectionate, Playful
Comparable Breeds
Yellow Crowned Amazon, Citron Crested Cockatoo
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo General Info

There’s no doubt that Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is immensely popular as a pet parrot and one of the goofiest of the many cockatoo breeds. These robust, loud and unique parrots have strong personalities, and you’ll certainly find that out for yourself. With their vibrant, bubbly and sociable behavior, these parrots can prove to be a challenging pet. That’s why they will fit perfectly with owners who have a friendly and energetic personality as well. But with just a little bit of patience and understanding, every owner can and will fall in love with these big goofs. Let’s meet the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo.

These cockatoos are very intelligent and energetic. They will often surprise you with their constructive behavior.

Native Region/Natural Habitat

One of the iconic breeds of Australia, these parrots are found in large areas in north and east of this continent. Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is also found all over the island of New Guinea and the numerous small islands nearby. They easily adapt and thrive in a variety of different areas, mostly dense forests, mangrove fields, savanna, urban surroundings, and agricultural plantations. In certain urban areas, they are really numerous and invasive, that they are considered as pests. Seeing one in your suburban garden in Sydney shouldn’t be a surprise. Although their numbers are stable in the wild, some areas still show a significant decrease, mostly due to continued illegal trapping and selling on the black market.

Overall Description

Most of the popular cockatoo breeds are similar in their appearance. They are easily recognized but easily mixed up as well. The best way to know the difference is by their colorful crests. The adults reach an average length of up to 20 inches (50 centimeters) and can weigh from 2 to 2.2 pounds (900 to 1000 grams). Needless to say, these are robust and large parrots and an aviary will be the best surrounding for them. A very large and roomy cage could work as well. But you will quickly realize that a lot of time outside of the cage will be the best solution for a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo.

Speech and Sounds

The first thing that comes prospective cockatoo owners want to know about is how noisy these parrots actually are. These big parrots are very vocal and can sometimes be difficult to endure. They love to mimic human speech in a goofy, slurred way and very loudly too. But this doesn’t occur all the time. It is mostly a way to express boredom, hunger or a wish to play. With a bit of patience, you can get used to it as you get to know your pet better. Nonetheless, a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is not an apartment pet. A roomy house is the only fitting surrounding for this parrot.


A lot of popular cockatoo breeds are lacking in variety and exotic colors that many other big parrots have. This might be an issue for some owners who prefer variety in color. These parrots are entirely white. Although this is simple it still gives them a feeling of elegance that few birds possess. They have subtle, pale yellow shades on the tail, and their iconic crest is bright yellow – a unique detail that provides a balanced contrast. Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is a pretty and charming parrot.

A cockatoo’s crest signifies its mood. Bored, hungry, excited or scared? Pay attention to its crest.

Care and Feeding

In the wild, these parrots thrive on a variety of seeds, fruits, insects and crops. This is a carefully selected natural diet that offers all the necessary nutrients for these large birds. For your Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, you should begin with a commercial seed mix, usually designed for cockatoos. It contains all the important seeds such as millet, safflower, canary, and oats. Supplement this with a lot of fresh green vegetables and fruit and you will have a balanced and nutritious diet. It is a very important part of the overall care for your pet.

Health and Common Conditions

Robust, large and hardy, these parrots are rarely ill. With enough good care and attention, you will have no problem caring for your pet cockatoo. One thing to take care of, though, is exercise. Large parrots can become obese and this is no good. Plenty of playing and exercising during the day will keep this at bay. The other important aspect is hygiene. Cockatoos can suffer from “psittacine feather and beak disease” which makes them lose all their feathers. This can be prevented with regular showers and a healthy lifestyle.

Did you know that the oldest cockatoo was 120 years old? He was very intelligent and a real celebrity in one of South Sydney’s pubs.

Personality & Behavior

Cockatoos are a whirlwind of fun. Be prepared to enrich your life and your home with an energetic, smart parrot whose favorite thing is having a good time. While their noisy and energetic behavior might take a little getting used to, you will still be charmed by all the good-natured fun and silliness of a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. Besides that, they can be quite cuddly when they like, and they have an affinity for cuddles and scratches. And with their long lifespan that can go well over 65 years, you will have a companion, friend, and a family member for a lifetime.

Photo credit: Martin Pelanek/Shutterstock; PUHIN K/Shutterstock; Timothy Christianto/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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