Cockatoo As a Pet: Types, Cost And Pros And Cons Of Owning

Cockatoos, often referred to as “Cacato”, “Crockadore”, “Cokato”, “Cocatore” and “Cocatoo” are very charming birds to care for that come in various sizes and colors. Cockatoos are also considered as one of the most famous parrots. They make ideal pets, especially for first-time bird owners.

The name, “Cockatoo” is derived from an Indonesian word called “kakak tua” which means “older sibling”. The Indonesian root name was also used as terms for the family and generic names: Cacatuidae and Cacatua, respectively.

Cockatoos have a reputation for being very curious and affectionate! Their vibrant appearance goes hand in hand with their enthusiastic demeanor, and that is what kept these birds unique throughout the centuries!

Aside from their attractive and beautiful variety of colors and mutations, like other birds, cockatoos also have an outgoing personality and are highly intelligent by nature. They really like to play and be with people and they love to cuddle.

Cockatoos are great as pets, although sometimes some people may find them quite mischievous and aggressive because these birds are very active by nature and can be very talkative at times.

Compared to other species of parrots, cockatoo parrots live for a long time; The oldest cockatoo on record reached 100 years! These birds have an average lifespan of 30 to 60 years! But, if you take good care of them, they will certainly live longer than you might expect.

7 Most Popular Types Of Pet Cockatoos

There are many species of cockatoos in the world, but only a few are ideal to keep as pets. In this section, you will be provided the 7 most popular cockatoos that are available in pet stores and are ideal as pets.

1. Palm Cockatoo

palm-cockatooPalm Cockatoo, Also known as the Goliath Cockatoo have red facial markings and appear as large blackbirds. It is not known to be among the most affectionate species of cockatoos, but it is the best known of all black cockatoos.

Black Palm Cockatoos require solid training so it is recommended for very experienced bird owners because they need a lot of interaction.

They love to yell out loud and are not a good choice for those who cannot tolerate loud noises and therefore are not suitable for people who live in apartments or condos.

2. Citron-crested Cockatoo

citron crested cockatooCitron Crested Cockatoo have a reputation for being calmer than most cockatoos and are classified as a subspecies of the Lesser sulfur-crested cockatoo. The only difference between the two is that the crest of the citron-crested cockatoo is orange instead of yellow and it also has a yellowish marking on its cheek.

These birds are highly recommended for pet owners who have a lot of free time to spend with their pets because they are a very sociable type of birds.

3. Goffin’s Cockatoo

goffins cockatooGoffin’s Cockatoo also known as Tanimbar corella have big personalities wrapped up in a small package. They are small white birds with flashes of pink-orange and yellow feathers. They are known for being sweet and interactive and requiring very little maintenance.

4. Moluccan Cockatoo

salmon-crested-cockatooMoluccan Cockatoo, also known as the salmon-crested cockatoo are one of the most famous cockatoo species. They are very tender birds that form strong bonding with their owners.

They are quite sticky because, in the wild, Moluccan cockatoos live in large flocks, which may explain their inherently social nature. Its crest when erected is bright orange; These birds also look impressive but intimidating and are quite large when they reach maturity.

5. Sulfur-crested Cockatoo

sulphur crested cockatooSulfur Crested Cockatoos are one of the largest species of cockatoos. As for their appearance, they are quite colorful because they have white feathers with yellow crest and flashes of yellow feathers under their wings not to mention their black beak and legs. The feathers on its crest are pointed and loose, and even if it is down, it is still quite visible.

Sulfur-crested cockatoos have a reputation for being loud and noisy birds, but very sweet and affectionate like other species of cockatoos. It is also an exceptional pet because it can be taught to learn new tricks, can mimic human speeches, and have a variety of excellent behaviors.

Like any other bird, it is also very active, so if you are looking to acquire this bird, get ready for an incredible, noisy but amazing pet!

6. Umbrella Cockatoo

umbrella cockatooUmbrella Cockatoos are the gentle giants of the cockatoo species. They are huge in size but are gentle, sweet, and docile in attitude, making them great pet birds. In terms of appearance, they have a white crest with bright yellow spots on the inner side of their wings.

Umbrella Cockatoos are not aggressive unless of course they are threatened, despite their intimidating appearance and size. They are also very sociable and form strong bonding with their owners.

7. Pink-breasted Cockatoo

pink brested cockatooPink breasted Cockatoo, also known as the Galah cockatoo is one of the smallest species of cockatoos that has a very distinctive appearance; The chest of these birds is bright pink, the wings are light gray, and the crest is whitish-pink. They are native to Australia and are generally found in wild forests.

These birds are very friendly and sweet by nature, but also quite sensitive. They need a lot of love and a lot of human interaction, otherwise, they might get depressed.

They are very popular as pets, but it is wise as a potential owner to ensure that these birds require a lot of attention and are therefore not suitable for everyone.

Cockatoo As A Pet: Pros And Cons

The information listed below shows the pros and cons of having cockatoos as pets:


  • Personality: they are intelligent,
    humorous, active, and loving
  • Appearance: vibrant and vividly colorful
  • Skills: they are easy to train, these birds can
    imitate human sounds and perform tricks
  • Impact on humans: they are very intelligent, down to earth, and love interacting with people; great lifelong companions
    They are


  • Cost: They are quite expensive depending on the size of the parrot species.
  • Noise: They are sometimes too talkative and love to yell out loud
  • Damage to your home: they love to chew and destroy your wooden furniture if you leave it out of the cage
  • Behavior: They can be aggressive at times, especially with strangers.

The Behavior Of Cockatoos With Other Pets

There is really no general rule of thumb when introducing your pet parrot to other types or species of birds, sometimes they will get along, sometimes not.

Fortunately, cockatoos in general are very welcoming to other species, regardless of their type. They are very friendly parrots, and you as the owner don’t have to worry if you will ever introduce them to other birds or pets, they love to hang out with everyone, including people!

However, there is a flip side, cockatoos tend to be harmful companions to smaller birds or pets like guinea pigs or rodents because these small animals can fall as prey with their strong beaks, which could be fatal.

Even if your cockatoo gets along with a larger or smaller bird, accidental injuries can occur during play or when they simply spend time inside the cage. So keep a close eye on them, especially if you just introduced them or if they interact with other species.

It is also best to socialize your cockatoo when it is still young because it is still vulnerable and can be very tolerant of other pets once it gets used to it.

As a general rule, you can introduce other types of birds but do so with caution so they can easily warm up to their new feathered friends.

Unlike other birds that are very individual, cockatoos love to be in flocks when in the wild or even in captivity. It will be easy to train them to like other parrots, although they can be a bit resourceful at times.

Experts also suggest that the best-behaved cockatoos are those that were exposed to many changes in the environment and those that were trained to socialize with people because they adapt more.

Costs Of Owning A Cockatoo In 2022

Owning a cockatoo parrot is quite expensive because it is very popular and also depends on the size of the bird, and having one can give you a tight budget.

The supplies needed to maintain one will definitely add to your daily living expenses, if you want to keep cockatoos as a pet you should be able to cover the necessary costs that come with it.

In this section, you will receive an overview of the expenses associated with purchasing and maintaining a cockatoo as a pet.

Initial costs

The initial expenses associated with keeping a Cockatoo as a pet include the cost of the bird itself, as well as the cage, cage accessories, toys, and grooming supplies.

You will find an overview of these costs below, as well as the total estimated expense to keep a cockatoo as a pet:

Purchase Price: Starts at $800 – $4,000

As stated above, cockatoos come in all sizes from small to medium to large birds, they are one of the most popular parrot breeds, which is why they can be quite expensive! The purchase price also depends on the color of the bird; some cockatoos with rare color mutations or a breed quality could be more expensive than others.

The general rules in these birds are, the more colorful, rare, and intelligent it is, the more expensive it can be. So you better check your budget to see which cockatoo is best for you.

Cage: from $ 249 – $2,499

The bigger the better! Even if you have a small-sized cockatoo, it’s a general rule of thumb for birds that live in cages where they could have the luxury of space, after all, that’s where they are going to spend most of their time, right? So choose the right cage for your cockatoos, so they can enjoy life like you!

Accessories: Estimated $100 

If you bought a cage, you will definitely need cage accessories such as perches, lights, feeding plates, stands, cage covers, and harnesses for your cockatoos. Accessories can be quite expensive depending on the brand, as well as the quality and size of your purchase.

Cockatoos are like other birds, they also have a mischievous side, they will chew on everything! Watch out!

Toys: about $50 

Cockatoos love to play and chew on lots of toys! They will easily destroy any toys that get there, which generally means you may need to keep shopping more often.

Like other parrots, they need a lot of stimulation to keep their intelligent and curious minds entertained. The price of toys depends on the brand you choose to buy. Keep bird boredom at bay with chew toys for your cockatoo.

Grooming supplies: about $50 

As part of pet hygiene, your cockatoo should be properly cleaned and groomed. There are many personal grooming items that you can purchase online or at your local pet store. Again, the brand and quality of the product affect the price range to keep your cockatoos clean and healthy.

Monthly costs

The monthly costs associated with keeping a cockatoo can be quite high, even if they are generally low maintenance. Some of the things you need to buy on a monthly basis, like food supplements, cleaning supplies, and even veterinary care from time to time, will definitely add to your expenses. Below are the estimated monthly costs involved.

Bird food (seeds, granules, treats, fruits, vegetables, etc.): approximately $50 – $60 per month

Your cockatoos need a varied and healthy diet. There’s a great selection of high-quality seed diets, complete foods, and pellets foods to choose from both online and at local pet stores, not to mention a few treats you might want to buy, especially when they’re doing tricks! The cost will depend on both the brand and the nutritional value of the food.

Feeding a variety of these foods, along with fruits and vegetables, is the key to a healthy parrot.

Cleaning supplies: at least $10 per month

You don’t need new cleaning products every month, but of course you will eventually run out of bird soap and shampoo. Just include it in your budget.

Veterinary care: from $150 – $1,000 or more

Cockatoos rarely get sick compared to other types of parrots, but it’s important to keep them healthy by taking them to a bird vet for a medical check-up every now and then.

Avian veterinarians are specifically trained to work with exotic birds, while a general practice veterinarian may not be familiar with their needs and treatments, especially if they are ill, not to mention necessary medications.

If this happens, it is best and wiser to set aside a portion of your budget for any medical needs that arise.

Additional costs: at least $10 per month

In addition to all these monthly costs, you need to plan for occasional additional costs like repairs to your cockatoo cage, replacement toys, food supplements, medications, etc. You won’t have to cover these costs every month, but you should budget them to be safe.