Bird Families

Cacatua (Plyctolophus) galerita Yellow-crested cockatoo large


The large yellow-crested cockatoo (lat.Cacatua galerita) belongs to the Cockatoo family (Cacatuidae) from the order of Parrots (Psittaciformes) and is one of its largest representatives. It plays an important role in the ecosystem, serving as a seed distributor for many plants.

Australian farmers consider it a vicious agricultural pest due to its habit of gathering in huge flocks and devastating fields with a harvest of maturing crops.

However, they cannot protect their crops by killing birds, since the yellow-crested cockatoo is a protected species under Australian law. Licenses for their shooting are issued only in exceptional cases.

Birds also cause damage to gardeners by gnawing and tearing wood on the branches of fruit trees. In the same way, they destroy various wooden structures and decorative elements on buildings with their powerful beaks.

Yellow-crested cockatoos tolerate captivity well and are very attached to their owner. They can mimic the sounds of human speech and learn about 30 words. Possessing a playful character, these parrots willingly learn various tricks and quite often take part in circus performances.

The name of the bird comes from the Malay word kakatoe, which the Malays use to imitate its cries.

The species was first described in 1790 by the British ornithologist John Leitham.


The range extends from Indonesia and New Guinea to Australia and New Zealand. Most often, large yellow-crested cockatoos are found in open spaces with shrubs and mangrove swamps, in eucalyptus groves, tropical rainforests and subtropical rainforests. They also settle near arable lands and along river banks, where tall trees grow. Parrots are not intimidated by the close presence of humans, so they can often be seen in city parks.

Birds usually live in lowlands. In mountainous areas, they are observed at altitudes up to 900 m above sea level.

There are 4 subspecies. The nominative subspecies is distributed on the island of Tasmania, in the eastern and southeastern regions of Australia.

The yellow-crested cockatoo was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands and Singapore, where they formed several small, isolated populations.


Outside the nesting period, large yellow-crested cockatoos lead a gregarious lifestyle. In the south of Australia, they live in huge flocks of several hundred individuals, and in the northern regions of the continent and in New Guinea, they prefer to roam in small flocks of up to 30 birds. Each flock acquires its own lodging for the night, choosing a separately located dry tree for it.

At dawn, cockatoos fly off him with loud cries and go to the nearest body of water. Having quenched their morning thirst, they fly to feed. The search for food occurs mainly on the surface of the soil. While the flock is feeding, several sentinels remain on the tree, vigilantly scanning the surroundings and giving a distress signal in any danger. At noon, birds hide from the heat in the crowns of trees, pinching young leaves, feasting on fruits and putting their plumage in order.

In the wild, yellow-crested cockatoos communicate with each other using loud sound signals that resemble squeals.

The cacophony created by a large flock can be deafening to nearby listeners. When emotionally aroused, detecting danger or mating, they raise their crests.

The flight is accompanied by rapid flapping of the wings in an almost horizontal plane and is repeatedly interrupted by short gliding phases. The birds are capable of taking off to great heights. Before landing on the tops of trees, they descend in wide circles, deafening the surroundings with a sharp squeal.

Like the pink cockatoo (Eolophus roseicapilla), these parrots love showers. When it rains, they hang upside down on the branches, flap their wings and squeal with happiness. In strong winds, they like to do acrobatic exercises in the air. Aerial acrobats are especially pleased by unexpected gusts of wind that carry them into the distance.

The main natural enemy is the giant needle-footed owl (Ninox strenua). Cockatoo nests are often ravaged by variegated flutist crows (Strepera graculina) and whistling crows (Gymnorhina tibicen).

Species: Cacatua (= Plyctolophus) galerita (Latham, 1790) = Large yellow-crested cockatoo

The large yellow-crested cockatoo is one of the largest members of the family. The length of its body is 48-55 cm, the length of the wing is 29.5-39 cm. The male is slightly smaller than the females: the weight of the male is 810-920 g, the female is 845-975 g.

The main color of the plumage of the large yellow-crested cockatoo is white with a yellowish tinge on the underside of the tail and flight feathers. The underside of the tail feathers is yellow. The crest on the head consists of narrow elongated feathers and is also colored yellow. The unfeathered area around the eyes is white, and the beak is black-gray. Paws are dark gray. The sex of the adult large yellow-crested cockatoo is easily distinguishable by the color of the iris of the eyes: in the male the iris is black, in the female it is red-brown.

The large yellow-crested cockatoo lives in the east and north of Australia, in the southeast of New Guinea, on the islands of Tasmania and Kangaroo.

Within its natural range, the large yellow-crested cockatoo Inhabits palm and eucalyptus forests, parks, gardens, fields and savannahs with lonely tall trees. A prerequisite for them is the obligatory availability of watering places not far from feeding and sleeping places. Flocks of large yellow-crested cockatoo usually number 60-80 heads. They love to swim in the rain. He spends the night in tall trees. It is most active in the early morning and late afternoon, and in the midday heat it rests in the shady crowns of trees. At dawn, flies to the watering hole to the nearest source of water.

The large yellow-crested cockatoo flies quickly and climbs trees perfectly. His loud voice can be heard over great distances. During the flight and when frightened, a large yellow-crested cockatoo screams shrilly. In a calm environment, it can make whistling and gurgling sounds.

The large yellow-crested cockatoo spends most of the day in search of food. It feeds mainly on trees, sometimes on the ground. Often, a large yellow-crested cockatoo gathers in large flocks (up to several hundred) on trees abounding in food. The food is based on a variety of fruits, nuts, buds, inflorescences, berries, flowers, seeds and roots of herbs, small insects and their larvae. Visiting the fields can cause significant damage to crops.

For breeding, a large yellow-crested cockatoo makes a nest in the hollow of old tall trees growing near the water. However, he has a clear preference for eucalyptus trees. The nest, as a rule, is located at an altitude of 3.5 to 30 m. As an exception, if there is a shortage of suitable trees, it can nest in voids or crevices of cliffs. Both parents take part in the construction of the nest. There are 1-2 eggs in a clutch. During the daytime, both parents incubate eggs. At night, only the female engages in incubating eggs, while the male spends the night among the branches near the entrance to the nest. After 30 days of incubation, chicks hatch, which spend in the nest for up to 10-12 weeks. After leaving the nest, the adults continue to feed and take care of the young for about 6 weeks.

The large yellow-crested cockatoo is very popular with birdwatchers as it is quickly tamed and strongly attached to humans. These parrots do not possess a good ability to onomatopoeia, but they are very artistic and capable of various tricks. Life expectancy in captivity is up to 50 years, in nature they live much less.

The species Large yellow-crested cockatoo includes 4 subspecies:

Cacatua galerita triton = Newt cockatoo
Cacatua galerita eleonor
Cacatua galerita galerita
Cacatua galerita fitzroyi


The diet of the yellow-crested cockatoo is quite varied. It includes nuts, fruits and seeds of various plants. The birds willingly eat insects that they can find on the branches of trees.

Sometimes small lizards, most often skinks (Scincidae), become their victims.

Being very quick-witted creatures, parrots are able to open sacks of grain and feast on the received trophy.

Description of the bird

The feathered creature has a small head, on which the decoration is a yellow tuft, consisting of narrow long feathers. The tips of the tail and wing feathers of a lemon shade, the throat and cheeks are slightly powdered with yellowness. The skin around the eyes is grayish or whitish, in the form of a ring, devoid of feathers.

You can distinguish the female from the male by the iris of the eyes: the female has a brown shell, and the males are black. Paws and beak are dark gray, almost black. A little about the dimensions of the yellow-crested cockatoo:

  • body length - 48-55 cm,
  • wing length - 30-40 cm,
  • bird weight - 810-980 gr.

The bird's feathers are round and white, with a slight yellow tinge, impregnated with white powder, and with the flapping of the wings, it flies into an almost invisible cloud, but settles on objects.

I would like to note that the small yellow-crested cockatoo looks about the same, only it is inferior in size and the color of the plumage near the ears is brighter.


This species is common in Eastern Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania. The feathered creature lives for a long time and has excellent health. You can find it on the territory:

  • gardens,
  • parks,
  • woodlands,
  • on cultivated land.

He especially loves to settle in savannas and fields, where there are tall trees, where they settle for the night or hide from the scorching sun. There must be a reservoir nearby to quench your thirst and receive water procedures.

The large yellow-crested cockatoo settles in flocks of 30 individuals, but no more. The most active time for birds is morning or late evening. Birds fly fast and climb trees beautifully.


The yellow-crested cockatoo parrot nests in the hollows of tall eucalyptus trees, not far from the reservoir. If there are no such trees nearby, then the birds build their nests in the crevices of the rocks.

To attract a lady, a male with a raised tuft approaches her, swinging his head up and down and to the sides. At the same time, the tail of the male is lifted up. If the female accepts the signs of attention of such a handsome man, mating occurs.

Nests are built together at a high altitude, from 4 to 35 m. The female yellow-crested cockatoo lays eggs with an interval of 2-3 days, 1-2 eggs with a white shell. The size of the eggs is small - 4.6x3.3 cm. At night, the female sits in the nest, during the day the parents alternate. The future offspring hatch for a month.

Chicks hatch blind, naked, with open ears. After two weeks, babies are able to hold their heads and sit to sleep, with their heads buried in their paws. After about 2.5 months, the fledging occurs. Feathers first appear on the head, tail and wings. The parrots will fly out of the nest on the 70th day, but they stay with their parents for the whole year. Puberty in chicks occurs by 3 years.

Population status

The popularity of the bird in European countries and America is not the same as at home. In Australia, the cockatoo is protected by law, and the capture of individuals is strictly prohibited. So all the yellow-crested cockatoos in stores are nursery-grown. They are purchased to make it more fun at home, not suspecting what kind of "fun" a parrot can actually arrange. The future owners hope that the bird will entertain them, but in fact, on the contrary, the owners will entertain.

The parrot does not tolerate loneliness, and if it realizes that someone is walking in the next room, then heart-rending screams, until they approach him, will yell, keeping the neighbors in good shape.

In their homeland, these birds have a reputation tarnished by the fact that they can destroy crops, causing severe damage to agriculture. In such cases, the state gives permission to the farmers to shoot the birds.

Keeping in captivity

The yellow-crested cockatoo is best kept in open-air cages or in all-metal cages. The shape of the cage does not matter, but the dimensions should be at least 100 by 100 cm and a height of 170 cm so that the bird can move freely.

The cage requires:

  • House for rest and sleep - 40x40x100 cm.
  • A pair of perches made of sturdy wood, at least 5 cm thick. They should be made in a conical shape, well fixed and positioned so that the parrot sitting on them does not touch the ceiling of the cage.
  • The feeder and drinker are firmly installed. You need to wash them daily.
  • You will need a calcium bar to grind the beak.
  • Necessarily - a reliable lock on the door. The parrot's strong beak and resourcefulness will easily open simple bolts, and he will go on a tour of the house.
  • Toys for a parrot are as necessary as for a dog. Bell, multi-piece puzzle, balls. Toys must be made from natural raw materials (wood, coconut fiber or durable plastic).

The pet's cage should be cleaned and washed regularly. Disinfection is carried out every 7 days. Parrots are very fond of swimming, so there should be a mini-pool in the cage or spray the bird with a spray bottle.


A photo of a yellow-crested cockatoo makes you smile, it seems that this cute creature will amuse others with its funny tricks. Nothing like this! The parrot does what he wants, not the owner. It will take kilometers of nerves to train a bird, not because it is stupid, but because it is wayward and capricious.

Parrot always lacks attention. The owner will leave for work under the heart-rending screams of the pet, any leaving the room where the bird is located will be accompanied by satanic screams. Silence will be ensured only at night or when there is no light in the room.

If the parrot is hungry, with the first ray of the sun, a wild cry will wake up the whole house, no matter if it's a day off and it's 04:30. Neighbors will wake up too.

In a stressful situation, the parrot will screech wildly (the baby's cry is multiplied by 5 times). What is a stressful situation is a miracle:

  • entangled in a toy
  • something pecked and hit itself on the paw,
  • frightened by the shadow of her tail,
  • heard a sharp sound.

Any whims of the bird are accompanied by strikes and hunger strikes in the form of violent throwing of feed, often together with a bowl. All this is done with such a psycho that the food scatters rain in different directions.

Yes, the bird looks beautiful and funny. He tries to talk, dance, do different tricks, parody the behavior of the owners, imitate different sounds. All this pleases and amuses.

But do not forget what the bird's beak is. Even if the parrot loves its owner very much, the latter should be wary of the integrity of its eyebrows, ears, lips, tendons and nose. A parrot without mood can easily bite. About people who come to visit, speech is not even conducted.

An inquisitive bird, released to spread its wings and fly around the apartment, will show interest in everything. You can say goodbye to the keys on the computer, at the same time to the Internet because of the gnawed wire. The bird will gladly drop a wall clock on the floor, break a suspended or suspended ceiling. Pulling a flower out by the root and scattering the soil around is considered happiness.

Do not think that with age, this saton will settle down, become tame and affectionate.

The large yellow-crested cockatoo receives excellent reviews - from those who do not have one or if he lives in a special aviary. Who has a more restrained opinion in the apartment.

What to feed

The bird's diet is quite extensive. If seeds, then it can be:

  • sunflower,
  • millet,
  • pumpkin,
  • oats,
  • wheat,
  • Pine nuts.

Of vegetables, it is advisable to include in the menu:

  • carrot,
  • beets,
  • pepper,
  • beans,
  • cucumbers.

Parrots are very fond of fruits:

  • grapes,
  • apples,
  • peaches,
  • mango.

And much more. Be sure the bird's body needs greens:

  • salad,
  • celery,
  • cabbage,
  • turnip tops.

In addition, you should give them protein foods:

  • cottage cheese,
  • cheese,
  • eggs,
  • small bones,
  • mealworm larvae.

You can not treat the bird to salty foods, sugar, fried, coffee, parsley, chocolate. Parrots are fed 2 times a day, morning and evening. Before you start a bird, you should think carefully and weigh the pros and cons. The yellow-crested cockatoo is not a budgie.