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Meet The Cockatoos

Find out why cockatoos are popular pets, but why you need to set boundaries with them.

Jessica Pineda

Lots of cockatoos love to dance.

It is easy to fall in love with a cockatoo — with its gorgeous soft feathers and desire to cuddle. Their sweet loving nature is what attracts many first-time bird owners. However, because they can develop an over-dependency on their human owners, cockatoos can manifest behavioral problems when their needs are not met. Feather plucking is a common behavioral problem, along with aggression. Owners sometimes attribute the cockatoo’s contact call as a behavior problem, for that call sounds like a scream.

It is vitally important that, with a cockatoo (and with any bird), the owner establish boundaries to prevent many of these behavioral problems from occurring or becoming pattern. The owner can help the cockatoo become more independent while continuing to have a loving relationship.

Moluccan cockatoo
Cockatoos come in all sizes, and one of the largest is the Moluccan cockatoo.

Cockatoos are native to the South Pacific and Australia, and come in a variety of sizes. The Moluccan cockatoo is the largest bird of the species, and the playful Goffin’s cockatoo is the smallest.

While cockatoos are susceptible to the diseases that affect all birds, they are more prone to beak and feather disease (PBFD) and fatty liver disease  due to obesity. Rose-breasted cockatoos are especially prone to fatty liver disease.

Cockatoos, depending on the species, generally reach sexual maturity between 5 to 7 years of age, and this is when a hen might begin laying eggs. Suzanne Bidwell of Cockatoo Connections said, "To keep the cockatoo from laying eggs, do not offer a nest box.”

Males can become aggressive when they reach sexual maturity. Sam Foster, an avian consultant who specializes in cockatoo behavior said, "A cockatoo is frustrated because it  doesn’t understand what do to know with itself during sexual maturity. Give them plenty of outlets like toys to chew. Sometimes it can take a few months before they calm down and go back to what we’re used to.”
Carefully consider all aspects of the cockatoo behavior before choosing this bird. Many cockatoos end up in shelters because owners couldn’t handle them.

A well-socialized cockatoo will shower you will love that knows no bounds, and it will be the best bird you ever have.

Want to learn more about cockatoos?

Common Cockatoo Health Concerns
5 Ways To Play With Your Cockatoo

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Posted: May 1, 2014, 1:00 a.m. PDT

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Meet The Cockatoos

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Reader Comments
I have had a male Cockatoo for the last 10 years. I love him almost like a child and the hard part is he will be a child for the rest of my life. The nice part is my 6 year old grandson is getting to love him as much as I do.
Angel, Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 5/12/2014 4:05:01 PM
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