Cockatoos are vivacious and affectionate birds. They are quite “cuddly” and bond very closely with their owners. However, their sociability and need for affection mean they demand a great deal of time from their owners. Deprived of love, cockatoos will become depressed or exhibit neurotic behaviors. They are intelligent, playful, mischievous, and they can be exceptionally loud. They are somewhat excitable, so sometimes don’t do that well around young kids.
Cockatoos are native to Australasia, a geographical region that includes Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Solomon Islands.
Cockatoos are not known for their talking skills, but they are good at learning tricks, and they love music and dancing. They are also considered the loudest of all parrots and very destructive. Because of this, cockatoos need lots of toys to keep them busy.
These Cockatoos are very sensitive in nature. They need a lot of personal attention and need to be cuddled a lot. If you fail to do so, they become aggressive. These birds love to be pampered like a baby. Their behavior is such that they have an intelligent, playful personality, and tend to be very loud. Cockatoos are less inclined towards mimicry, but they can speak like humans when trained. That, again, differs from one species to another.
The average lifespan is about 40 years for smaller birds like the Goffin’s cockatoo. The larger cockatoos, like Moluccan species, have a longer lifespan of about 80 years.
As far as housing requirements are concerned, you need to have a cage that is not smaller than a 24″ x 36″ x 48″ in size. It should have a bar spacing of ¾” to 1″. If you have a large cockatoo, you will need a cage of about 24″ x 48″ x 48″ and bar spacing of about 1″ to 1.5″. You should buy strong cages made of wrought iron, stainless steel, etc., as cockatoos have a very tough beak.
You should give your bird lots of toys to play with. They are aggressive chewers and love to destroy things, and therefore, giving them softwood toys, tanned vegetable leather, ropes, bells, even cardboard to play with makes sense. Their toys should include hanging toys as well as those that the bird can pick up with its beak.
Cockatoos will happily feast on fresh vegetables, grains, fruits, etc. You can also include bird pellets in their diet. You will have to be careful when feeding seeds and seed mixes as they are high-fat content. Nuts can be given as a special treat. Never give them chocolates, fried foods, alcohol, or salted foods, like potato chips, pretzels, etc.
Cockatoos are somewhat like humans in behavior; in a sense, they need a lot of love. They are compassionate, so make sure you don’t neglect them in any way.