Home | Bird Behavior | The Magnificent Cockatoos – Pros and Cons for Potential New Owners – Part 1

The Magnificent Cockatoos – Pros and Cons for Potential New Owners – Part 1

Cockatoos are among the most highly-desired of all parrots – even attracting folks who never considered bird ownership before laying eyes on one.  But these entertaining and intelligent beauties come with good and not-so-good surprises, even for those who have kept other large parrots.  Today I’d like to present their finer points, next week the “less fine”.


Whether white, black or infused with color, Cockatoos are incredibly striking in appearance and possessed of strong, interesting personalities.

Cockatoos take well to people, and are far easier to “get to know” than are many other parrots.  Socialized individuals are very playful, and love being handled – many folks consider them more like cats or dogs than birds in this regard.  Inquisitive and athletic, Cockatoos sometimes learn an astounding array of tricks.

Even the largest species are rather docile and far less likely to bite than are most other parrots (nesting birds are an exception).

In contrast to many captive birds, well-maintained breeding pairs of Cockatoos almost always raise their young successfully.

Cockatoos are hardy in general, and even those species native to warm regions will, if acclimated properly, fare well at quite low temperatures.  With a properly constructed shelter and protection from drafts, year-round outdoor housing is often possible, even in temperate climates.

Further Reading

A most amusing “dancing Cockatoo” video is posted here.

I was very fortunate in having worked with the rare and beautiful Palm Cockatoo.  Please see Hand Rearing Palm Cockatoos for more information.

The Brookfield Zoo’s beloved 76 year old Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo is a wonderful ambassador for parrot conservation.  Read more here.



About Frank Indiviglio

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I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
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