Animal-World > Birds > Cockatoos > Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Family: Cacatuidae Greater Sulphur-crested CockatoosCacatua galeritaPhoto Courtesy: Frank Koenders
Latest Reader Comment - See More
HI we have just brought in a sulphur creast cacatua.she is nice allows me to touch pamper her but suddenly bites don't come on my hand and also at times screems.... (more)  Neelam

   Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoos make very loving pets that need lots of attention. They can learn to talk, as can most cockatoos and are easy to teach all kinds of tricks!

   The Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoo has been a well known bird for many years. It was collected as early as 1790 by the famous explorer, Captain Cook, on one of his voyages to Australia. They can be very long lived with one bird recorded as living for about 120 years.

   This bird is a very delightful and sweet tempered. Like cockatoos in general, they are a very loving type of bird. Affection is readily accepted and returned in kind. They are a pet that not only appreciates interaction but requires it and needs a lot of attention from their owners. Buy a cockatoo only if you can spend a lot of time with it.

   To learn more about Cockatoos and their needs visit:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Cockatoo

Geographic Distribution
Cacatua galerita
See All Data at Google Maps
Data provided by
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Cacatuidae
  • Genus: Cacatua
  • Species: galerita

Scientific name:Cacatua galerita

Subspecies - (4):

  • Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
    Cacatua galerita galerita
  • Triton Cockatoo
    Cacatua galerita triton
  • Medium Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
    (also called: Eleonora Cockatoo)
    Cacatua galerita eleonora
  • Cacatua galerita fitzroyi

Distribution:    These birds can be found in New Guinea including the offshore islands, Aru islands, and northern and eastern Australia. It has been introduced to other places including New Zealand, the Palau Islands, and Indonesia.

Description:    Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are a full-sized cockatoo. They are primarily white with a yellow or "sulphur" colored crest on the top of their head. The underside of the wings and tail is also frequently tinged with yellow. Mature birds are about 48 cm (19 inches) in length. They are among the largest cockatoos.
   In many respects the Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoo resembles the Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. Technically these two species would be referred to as 'superspecies', meaning two similar species that are geographically separated. Besides size, the Greater Sulphur-crested being a larger bird, there are a few other criteria used to identify them. The Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoos have a heavier, wider, and less protruding beak, their crest is usually narrower, and the bare skin around their eyes is much whiter.
   Birds that are called the 'Medium Sulphur-crested Cockatoo' are generally the Eleanora Cockatoo Cacatua galerita eleonora, a subspecies of Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, though in earlier writings this term sometimes referred to larger individuals of the Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoo.

Care and feeding:    A roomy cage is required (minimum 2 ft. x 2 ft. x 3 ft. high) unless the bird is to be let out for extended periods. Many birds can spend most of their time on a play pen or parrot perch.
   They eat a variety of seeds, nuts, fruits, and commercial pellets, as well as the same nutritional foods humans eat.
   See About Cockatoos: Housing and About Cockatoos: Care and Feeding for more information.

Social Behaviors:    In the wild Cockatoos are friendly and peaceful. They live together in flocks of 20 or more birds.
   They enjoy and require a lot of affection and attention. It is often recommended that they be kept in pairs so they will keep each other company. This can help to reduce the amount of time you will have to devote to an individual bird.

Breeding/Reproduction:    See About Cockatoos: Breeding for Cockatoo breeding information.

Sexual differences:    Hard to tell the sex of young birds. As they get older the iris of the females' eyes will develop a reddish color, the males' eyes will remain black. This is not always completely accurate so other means are necessary if you need to know "for sure" what sex a particular bird is.

Potential Problems:    Cockatoos can be quite loud screeches. The behavior can be reduced by giving attention and proper surroundings. Also, since they are prone to chewing, if they are not given enough attention they will chew their own feathers.
   See About Cockatoos: Potential Problems for information on illnesses.

Availability: These birds are available from time to time.

Activities: Loves to climb and play and chew. Provide lots of toys.

Lastest Animal Stories on Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Neelam - 2014-05-14
HI we have just brought in a sulphur creast cacatua.she is nice allows me to touch pamper her but suddenly bites don't come on my hand and also at times screems. Don't know what to do as I'm a first time bird owner. Please kindly guide me so I can make my bird more comfortable and be friends for long

IAN WEBB - 2009-06-23
As a pet these are not a bad bird but can be nasty when cleaning out the cage etc. I have heard of people losing fingers, but in the wild these are Australia's second worst pest. They are the farmer's nightmare and a very very destructive devastating bird. Myself I rank them up with the Indian Myna and the Cane Toad as this country's worst pests. I hope that my view does not hurt but having been on the land myself. I see the damage this bird is doing to the man on the land, who is struggling with this and the worst drought in at least 100 years. The farmer has to make a living, thank you and have a nice day

  • Ros Stiles - 2011-08-11
    Perhaps you need to remember that humans came and took over the cockatoos food source, felled their trees and cleared their forests. So if the poor birds actually dare to take some food from your trees when you have (your ancestors or previously land owner) raped their land took away their food and shelter etc. Perhaps you could plant a few trees for the birds to help them out instead of complaining about them. And I do understand - I come from a farming background.
laurie - 2008-11-30
We acquired a Greater Crested Cockatoo at our store as a lady had him, Val'dore
for a week and he bit her. This lady had gotten him off another couple who used brooms to chase him and apparently the people before that threw stuff at his cage to shut him up. They have put him on drugs etc. He is now drug free and I have brought Valdore home. He has sat with me and talked with me but knowing he is not going to be chased by brooms things thrown at him I think he has a chance. I have let him out on his playtop and his cage is open for him to feel he is not enclosed and welcome to come down and sit with me when he so feels like it. This day is my first day other than visiting him at my store. We will just see how sychotic they say he is. I would be if people treated me that way, the thing is everyone want one of these lovely parrots but do not do their homework as cockatoos need a lot of love and attention and are not very independent in comparison to an African Grey or Blue and Gold (which I also have). Feel free to visit our website @

Lilly - 2013-12-18
If you had a cockatoo for about 25 yers are you allowed to put another one in with it?

  • Clarice Brough - 2013-12-26
    Cockatoos are very social animals, and if you've had it for 25 years... it probably thinks you are its flock. Adding another bird is fine, but you want to give both birds plenty of time to get used to the new arrangement. It takes time, love, and patience.
Kathy - 2013-09-19
We are moving from Queensland to Tasmania and want to take our cockatoo who is over 30. He was with my Mum till she died and we inherited him, he doesn't like me much, but loves my husband who has a beard and long hair. He talks to him daily. He is a very healthy cockatoo and we need to know he will be OK moving to Tassie?

  • Clarice Brough - 2013-09-19
    He should be fine, but will have to get accustomed to a new home just like people do.

Copyright © [Animal-World] 1998-2012. All rights reserved.