Umbrella Cockatoo

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
fast facts

About Umbrella Cockatoo

18 inches
40-60 years
Bird Species
Vocal, Noisy, Chatterer
Highly Social, Affectionate, Cuddly, Playful
Comparable Breeds
Yellow Crowned Amazon, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
Umbrella Cockatoo General Info

The Umbrella Cockatoo, also known as the White Cockatoo, has been a loved and popular pet for a long time. Their popularity goes back as far as seventh century AD, where they were cherished pets on the courts of China’s Tang dynasty. For Europeans, they became known in the 1700’s, being brought over from the maritime voyages. They quickly became widespread and popular pet birds, which remains unchanged: these days, they’re often the stars of viral cute parrot videos!

The Umbrella Cockatoos have been cherished for centuries. They are loving and affectionate birds, with many unique features.

Native Region/Natural Habitat

The home of these parrots is reserved for only a few islands in the northern cluster of Maluku islands, in Indonesia. Umbrella Cockatoos enjoy living in lowland tropical forests and mangroves in small flocks. Even though this bird is common as a pet, in the wild its numbers are declining, causing it to become an endangered species.

Overall Description

White Cockatoos are large and graceful birds. The adults can reach a length of around 18 inches (46 centimeters) and weigh up to 1.8 lbs (800 grams), making them one of the largest in the cockatoo family. Like some other parrots, Umbrella Cockatoo has a unique feature – the zygodactyls feet. This means that they have two toes forward and two toes backward, allowing them to grasp objects and hold onto branches with relative ease. They also like to hold their food in one foot and nibble on it. The most interesting detail, though, is their radiant crest, which inspired their name. When excited, your pet will spread the crest on top of its head, which resembles a large fan or an umbrella.

Speech and Sounds

When buying an Umbrella Cockatoo, you should know that your pet might be very noisy at times. Their loud caws and screeching usually come from disturbance, fear or lack of attention. They also have a great ability to mimic human speech, although not by forming words. It often comes out as a hilarious, sped up mumbling with an occasional word thrown in. But most of the time, when not silent, they will love chatting, “talking” to you on and on, responding to your words in countless funny ways. While this behavior is utterly charming, it also means that this pet bird won’t be the best choice for apartment dwellers.


The dominant color of Umbrella Cockatoo is white. It covers the entirety of their bodies, with only slight yellow spots beneath their wings which are visible in flight. A large, entirely white bird is a graceful and beautiful sight, and in combination with their prominent black beak and the large crest, it creates a one of a kind pet parrot.

These cockatoos are purely white. Together with their unique details, they have the appearance of graceful and remarkable birds.

Care and Feeding

A part of the care you provide to your pet is ensuring plenty of space for them. Their cage should be roomy and big, as they are large birds with a lot of energy. Umbrella Cockatoo will also love to roam about outside of the cage (in a safe environment) or spend their time on a perch or artificial branch. Their diet should consist of commercial seed or pellet mixes and a regular and varied supplementation of fresh fruits, vegetables, and common nutritional foods for birds.

Health and Common Conditions

Hardy and resilient, Umbrella Cockatoo can live to be from 40 to 60 years old, sometimes even more. Throughout their remarkable lifespan, they can be relatively free from health issues, given proper and regular care. This includes good hygiene, optimal living conditions, and a healthy diet. Some signs to watch out for should be apathy, runny or crusty eyes and difficulty breathing. To prevent feather plucking, provide your pet with regular baths.

Your pet can live a long and happy life. Ensure it by providing proper care and commitment.

Personality & Behavior

There is a lot you can learn about your pet cockatoo. It might take a while. Umbrella Cockatoo is generally affectionate and cuddly, preferring to play and be handled. Also, once trust is established, they will bond deeply with their owner, often creating a lifelong relationship. For a patient and caring owner, a cockatoo can become a companion and a buddy, but only if you can understand and get used to their often quirky and goofy personality, as well as their chatty, noisy behavior. Before deciding to get an Umbrella Cockatoo, though, make sure you’ll be able to give them lifelong care: after all, these pet birds can even outlive their owner.

Photo credit: Flik47/Shutterstock; T.S. Aditya Narasimhan/Shutterstock; RLHambley/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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