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Lessor Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
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Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Family: Cacatuidae "Rocky" is a Lesser Sulphur-crested CockatooCacatua sulphureaPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
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I have 6 parrots. One female lessor sulfur crested about 14 years old. She just laid me an egg! I didn't think this was a problem with the larger species as opposed... (more)  Linn

   "Rocky" loves attention and is a very playful comedian. When he gets excited he will lift up his crest like an Indian headdress, bob up and down, and dance. What a card!

   The Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are very docile. They can learn to speak and are easy to teach all kinds of tricks. This is a smaller cockatoo and they are sometimes referred to as the "apartment-sized cockatoo". They are pretty birds with a delicate beautiful appearance and their movements are very gracefully.

   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.

Dr. Jungle shares a little bit more about "Rocky"!...

 Rocky is a mature bird, though only about 3 years old. While Rocky was at our store he was rather nervous about all the commotion and didn't want to be held very much. Now though he spends most of his time outside his cage and loves to perch on his owners hand.

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

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Cacatuidae
  • Genus: Cacatua
  • Species: sulphurea

Scientific Name:Cacatua sulphurea


  • Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
    Cacatua sulphurea sulphurea
  • Citron-crested Cockatoo
    Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata
  • Cacatua sulphurea djampeana
  • Cacatua sulphurea abbotti
  • Cacatua sulphurea occidentalis
  • Cacatua sulphurea parvula

   The Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoo is divided into six subspecies. They very much resemble the Greater Sulphur-crested Cockatoo but are much smaller, being 3 or 4 inches shorter in length. Except for the Citron-crested Cockatoo they are all similar to each other as well, with differences being in the amount of yellow, the size of the bill, or combinations of these. The Citron-crested Cockatoo is decidedly different in that its crest and ear-coverts are orange rather than yellow and it is a bit larger than the others.

Distribution:    This bird is found in Sulawesi (Celebes), Sunda Islands, and other adjoining islands. They inhabit open woodlands, the edge of forests, and cultivated wheat fields.

Description:    Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are a smaller cockatoo. They have a white plummage with a yellow or "sulphur" colored crest on the top of their head. There is also yellow their cheeks and on the undersides of their wings and tail. They can learn to talk, as can most cockatoos and are easy to teach all kinds of tricks. Mature birds are about 33 cm (13 inches) in length.
   In many respects the Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoo resembles the Greater 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 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.
   In the wild they eat seeds, berries, nuts, fruits and probably vegetable matter. 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 in pairs or small flocks though sometimes they will gather in very large flocks to feed.
   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, he males' eyes will be dark brown to black.

Potential Problems:    Cockatoos can be quite loud screechers. This behavior can be reduced by giving attention and by 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 becoming readily available.

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

Lastest Animal Stories on Lessor Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Linn - 2014-07-02
I have 6 parrots. One female lessor sulfur crested about 14 years old. She just laid me an egg! I didn't think this was a problem with the larger species as opposed to parrotlets or cockatiels. I am not sure what to do. Any suggestions? I will call my vet, but any other insight would be appreciated.

  • Clarice Brough - 2014-07-22
    A visit to the vet is important at this time to ensure the health of the bird. What stimulates a parrot to lay eggs is still a mystery, but things like diet and additional summer daylight are known to increase the chances. Generally it is recommended that the bird always has a good diet, but when egg laying provide it with extra calcium and protein as these are known to stimulate egg laying. Reducing the calcium and protein along with a reduction in the amount of daylight can help, but you must be certain the bird is not carrying any more eggs, and a vet can help determine this.
Caryn Williams - 2013-07-21
Hi, my 4 month old is now almost a year old... My older bird is 6 years. The younger one really wants some interaction with the older one. She chases him around the cage. If she gets too close the older bird screams his head off until she backs off. At night they sleep in different cages. The older bird has never attacked the younger one, he just does not want anything to do with her at all! I really want them to get along and share a cage. We have tried a couple of times to put them in together, but the older one pitches such a fit, we give up. I don't want anyone to get hurt! Is there anything I can do to help them become friends?

  • Jasmine Brough Hinesley - 2013-07-24
    Hmmm, well it sounds like your older bird has gotten quite used to being solitary! I really can't say as to whether he will ever want a cage mate. It might be better to just keep them in separate cages. Over time (a long time!) maybe he will warm up to the younger bird and want to share a cage.
Wendy Miller - 2012-12-08
I was hoping that u could recommend an in-depth book on cockatoo behaviors/psychology-I have a 5-month lessor sulphur-crested cockatoo and when I play with him-he loves to play 'gonna get ya' He runs away on the floor and I play chase him-then he will turn around and runs at me-laughing because that's what I do, anyway this is a game that we have played for about 1 month and my concern is that when he gets older is this going to be a bad thing that I have started-a couple of times when he was playing this with my 16 year old-I noticed that he was more aggressive than he is with me. As he matures could this potentially become even more of a problem. He loves this game but I am concerned! Can someone give me some insight into this? Thank You!

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-12-08
    It is nomal - although may seem a bit strange.  It's the typical tag.  I had many people actually call me and so scared cuz there bird was 'chasing them' and they would be standing on a chair or whatever and would want to know what to do.  The answer is just stop running.  Puppy will chase you and then when he catches you - he will turn around and run the other way and you have to chase him.  More agressive with your 16 year old than he is with you - mine would really seem way more agressive with my daughter than me.  He'd just would pound his feet and bob his head and holler out and then chase her and catch her.  When he would catch her - he would hit her shoe sideways with his beak. Odd.  If you are nervous or it seems to be getting out of control cuz sometimes a parrot will get wound up - just like a child - then time out time or calm down time. 
  • Charlie Roche - 2012-12-08
    Forgot about the book.  I don't know of a specific book on cockatoo behavior but I am confident if you think of a 3 year old child dressed in feathers - you will underatdn the behaviors.  Don't eat in front of a 3 year old with out sharing.  Do not attmept to put a 3 year old to bed when the company is around.  Do not
Caryn Williams - 2012-11-26
Hi, I have a five year old lsc. He is my baby boy and I love him to pieces!! He's very spoiled! We just got another one (4month old) we have two large cages so they can see each other. Do you think they will get along? The 5 year old is a male. Can two birds of the same sex get along together? We will DNA test the baby soon.

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-11-26
    Sure - two same (or different) birds of the same sex will get along.  If they are a different sex - they can easily pair bond - keep them in separate cages.  People have had good luck with their cockatoos - even if they pair bond - going back to being pets even if they do nest.  Good luck and have fun - enjoy them both.
Toni - 2012-10-16
I need help dealing with a biter. My boyfriend has had a lessor sulphur crested cockatoo for 15 years or so. She's about 20 now. She is very bonded with him. And very jealous. For the first year I knew her she screamed if I went near him. I've lived with her for 2 years now. She's let me pet her through the cage and give her treats. And she usually doesn't scream when I touch him now. But sometimes when I pet her she tries to bite me. She got me once. Ouch. When I walk by her cage she'll reach out and grab me with her foot or her beak. But I've been careful not to get angry. And the book I have on her suggested not pulling my hand away, which is scary. I'd like to be able to handle her or open her cage without fear of being attacked. I'm always worried she'll need something or something we'll be wrong and he won't be home. She does have a history of flying at other women. Is there anyway to get her to trust me?

  • Clarice Brough - 2012-10-16
    The amazing thing about parrots is their memory. Another amazing thing is their incredible ability to bond with another person or another bird. Some are more gregarious and can have a general bond with multiple birds/people. But in captivity the group they become gregarious with can often be limited and the bird adapts to live with that.  This bird has a very high need for socialization. In the wild it would have been with a small flock, and comfortable with all.

    It sounds like your bird's 'flock' has consisted basically of just your boyfriend, so its a big leap for her to learn to be gregarious as an adult of  15 years. She knows she wants (learned/adapted to) your boyfriend as her bonded companion, and preferably all to herself. But she also has interacted with you for two years now, and knows you for all your patience and the extending of a friendship. But of course wth her great memory and bonding ability, she still has her preferences and acts on them. That will probably not change as long as he is part of her life.

    But look at the great strides you've made. She recongizes you as part of the group, though not the center. I would continue to be patient and loving, over time your relationship will only get better.
  • Toni - 2012-10-17
    Thank you for your advice. It has just been the 2 of them, except for the cat who passed away. He spends a lot of time with her. He's a good pet parent. It's comforting to know there's hope for me and her and that I'm doing okay. Thanks again.

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