What Are Cockatoos?
Cockatoos are a family of 21 different species, which include birds like the cockatiel and Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo. With the exception of the cockatiel, most cockatoos are larger than other parrots, and are also known to be much louder as well. They are easy to recognize because of their moveable crest of feathers, and also lack a gallbladder, a trait that separates them from other parrot species. Cockatoos are found mainly in Australasia, including Australia, the Philippines and Indonesia. Of the cockatoo species, cockatiels are the kind most seen as pets and are often considered the easiest to care for. Smaller Cockatoo species are generally more quiet and easier to care for, but all can be a challenge.
What Makes Cockatoos a Good Pet?
While cockatoos can prove challenging to care for, if an owner is committed to providing proper socialization and care, they have a lot of positive qualities. Their unique crest feathers allow owners to gauge their moods depending on the position of these feathers – if their head feathers are standing straight up, it means they are excited, and if laid flat it means they are relaxed. While not known for their talking abilities, some cockatoos are very loud and vocally expressive, and can be taught tricks and even how to dance. They also love attention and cuddling.
How Do You Care for Cockatoos?
Depending on the type of cockatoo, they can be easy or difficult to care for. Cockatiels are not only one of the most popular species of cockatoos for pet owners but also one of the most popular birds of any type. They are a good first choice for bird owners as they are warm and easy-going, and even for more experienced owners are great as they do well when added to an existing home with birds.
However, most cockatoos are not as easy to manage as cockatiels and so require proper training. Cockatoos are more prone to behavioral issues than many other parrots, and this can include biting and aggression. Unfortunately, because of their often-difficult personalities, many parrot rescues see a lot of cockatoos come through their doors because owners were not prepared for the responsibility of caring for these birds. Those living in smaller spaces and in close proximity to others may find cockatoos too disruptive. They also require a lot of toys to play with to ensure they do not destroy their environments.
With the exception of cockatiels, members of the cockatoo family are typically not a good fit for inexperienced owners, but for those who have experience and are willing to deal with their quirks, they can make great pets.