Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo


Northern and eastern Australia, New Guinea, including most offshore islands


Common in lowland forests and savannah country, open woodlands and cultivated farmlands.


Similar in appearance to the Lesser sulphur-crested cockatoo only larger. Bill and legs dark gray. Mostly white plumage with bright, yellow crest. Pale yellow feathers on cheeks and throat with underside of flight and tail feathers strongly washed with yellow.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

These noisy, conspicuous birds are usually found in pairs or small family parties during breeding season, and at other times in flocks numbering in the hundreds. While the flock is feeding on the ground a few individuals remain perched atop surrounding trees. At the approach of danger, these \\\\\\\'sentinals\\\\\\\' rise into the air screeching loudly to warn the feedin flock. Each flock has a roosting site where the flock returns to each night after feeding. A flock will rarely leave a roosting site even though they may have to travel great distances to water and feeding areas. When traveling to and from the roosting site they fly at a considerable height, gliding down to the trees in wide, sweeping circles. They are often troublesome pests to farmers, raiding crops, damaging haystacks and bagged grains. They can also be beneficial however, as they are know to eat the seeds of many weed pests.


Courtship consists of the male bobbing his head up and down with crest raised and swishing his head from side to side while uttering soft, chattering notes. Mutual preening and touching of the bills then follows. They nest in a hollow limb, a hole in a tree or cliff and sometimes on top of haystacks. Two or three eggs are laid and incubated for thirty days by both parents. They young birds leave the nest six to nine weeks after hatching.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Class: birds
Genus: Cacatua
Species: galerita
Height: 21 inches
Average Lifespan: 50+ years
Wild Diet: Seeds, fruits, berries, nuts, flowers, leaf buds, roots, and insects and their larvae
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed
Where at the Zoo? Off Exhibit: Education Animal Facility

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