Having a pet Cockatoo
The Cockatoo family has 21 species which belong to the bird family named Cacatuidae. This family of birds is mostly found in Australasian regions such as the Philippines, eastern Indonesian islands and Australia.
Cockatoos can be recognised due to their showy crests and curved bills. In comparison to other parrots the plumage of cockatoos is generally less colourful than other parrots; they are often white, grey or black with colourful crests, cheeks or tails. In general Cockatoos are larger than other parrots; however there is also the smaller Cockatiel which is the smallest Cockatoo species.
Some species are affected badly by habitat loss, with large mature trees in their habitat being cleared and leaving them with no suitable nesting.
The preferred food of cockatoos is generally seeds, tubers, flowers, insects and fruit. In the wild they normally feed in large flocks and will nest in trees. They are very versatile feeders and will eat a large variety of vegetable foods. A large part of a cockatoo’s diet will consist of seeds; the birds use their powerful, large bills to break the seeds. Some species will mainly feed on the ground where as others will feed in the trees.
Cockatoos normally have one partner as they are monogamous breeders, they have pair bonds which can last years. Female start to breed anywhere from three to seven years old.
The expected lifespan of a pet cockatoo which is properly cared for is around 40 years for smaller species and 80 years for larger species.They are very lively and affectionate birds, this is one of the reasons that they make such great pets. They bond closely with their owners, however due to their sociability and need for affection cockatoos will often demand a lot of attention from their owner. It is important that they receive this attention from their owners or they will become depressed or show neurotic behaviour. This neurotic behaviour is often the bird picking at its own feathers. It would be advisable to keep two birds as pets rather than one because of this. Because the birds are so excitable they are not great around young children.
Although cockatoos are not as well known as other parrots for their speech ability they do have good speech ability. This varies however with individual birds and different species.
If you have a cockatoo as a pet you will need to make sure you have a suitable sized cage for the bird. For smaller cockatoos a cage no smaller than 24″x36″x48″, for larger birds a very large cage is required that is no smaller than 24″x48″x48”. However with cockatoos the larger the cage the better. A strong cage will need to be used that is constructed from wrought iron or stainless steel; this is because the cage will need to withstand the birds’ sharp beak. Horizontal bar wires are also necessary to allow the cockatoo to exercise.
When keeping a cockatoo it is essential to provide them with toys, this is because they love to chew and destroy things. Various different toys can be used with cockatoos such as Softwood toys, tree branches, rope toys and vegetable tanned leather. Hanging toys are also good for cockatoos.
They tend to make a lot of mess as pets; they may toss their food or chew on anything they can. Cockatoo owners should be prepared for some mess.
Having a pet Cockatoo