Native to Australia, Cockatoos are a large, noisy, and long-lived family of parrots with mobile crests. While Australia is the home to most species of cockatoos, there are other species found in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and the Solomon Islands.

In this article, we focus on the most common species found in Australia. Before we do that, however, it would be interesting to learn a few facts about cockatoos:

  • Most cockatoos are left-footed.
  • Their lifespan is almost identical to humans.
  • The word ‘cockatoo’ originated from Malay. It means ‘grip’. Their beak is strong.

The most common species of cockatoo in Australia is the Galah. Read on to discover more species in this region.divider-birds

The 9 Cockatoo Species Found in Australia

1. Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo Bird
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The Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo’s scientific name is Cacatua galetita. There are other species similar to this one but their body size is smaller. This species has white feathers, yellow feathers below the wings, a yellow crest, black feet, and a black bill. The feathers at the crest are loose and pointy.

The Sulphur-Crested cockatoo has four subspecies. Each subspecies occurs at a different place and can be differentiated by subtle variance. You can interbreed the species making it hard to distinguish them. Interbreeding is not recommended though.

2. Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

Major Mitchell's cockatoo
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Major Mitchell’s cockatoo is colored. It has white feathers on the wings. The rest of the body has soft pink feathers. When the crest is down, it looks plain and when erect, it has an orange and yellow coloring. The color of the feet and bill are bone. Major Mitchell’s cockatoo’s body size is 40 cm. The male cockatoo has black eyes while the female one has brown eyes.

The scientific name of Major Mitchell’s cockatoo used to be lophochroa leadbeateri. It later changed to Cacatua leadbeateri.

This species is very expensive, naturally found in the Southern and Western parts of Australia. They live in forests and do not like open areas.

The Major Mitchell’s species can be kept as a pet but need to be socialized well when young. It is difficult to breed them in captivity. They need large cages. This is the reason why they are commonly found in parks and zoos than as a pet at home.

3. Little Corella

Little Corella
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The Little Corella Cockatoo’s scientific name is Cacatua Sanguinea. The species is small and it’s almost similar to Goffin’s Cockatoo. It has white feathers, a small boundary of pink-orange feathers around the bill, and the feathers under the wings are yellow. The feet and bill are bone-colored. The Little Corella’s crest is small and white in color. The patch around the eye is blueish and bigger than the rest of the species. Its body size is 36cm. You cannot differentiate its gender unless you conduct a DNA test.

This species occurs in Australia in open fields, urban, and agricultural areas. It is one of the few species of wild animals thriving thanks to humans in Australia. They have adjusted to water availability in wells and food provided through farming.

Australians use the Little Corella Cockatoo as a pet as it is readily available and obtainable. It is also easy to tame.

4. Long-billed Corella Cockatoo

Long-billed Corella parrot
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The Long-billed Corella has a very long pointy bill as per its name. Its scientific name is Cacatus tenuirostris. This cockatoo has white feathers, a pink edge through the bill, throat, and eyes. It also has a very small white crest.

The Long-billed Corella Cockatoo’s habitat is the Australian Northern coast. They commonly live on open fields and grasslands. They are in urban areas too.

This species of cockatoo is common for Australians as a pet. It is largely available since it a common natural species in Australia. When adapted as a pet, it is playful, affectionate, and nice. These cockatoos are noisy and like chewing things. They imitate sounds and speech better than other cockatoo species.

5. Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

red-tailed black cockatoo_Merrillie Redden_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Merrillie Redden, Shutterstock

The Red-tailed Black Cockatoo’s scientific name is Calyptorhynchus bansksii. The males have black feathers on their tails with light red spots. Females have black and yellow-orange spots on the feathers and the chest has light stripes. They do not have red tail feathers and their crest is smaller compared to their male counterparts. The females have bone-colored bills while the males are black.

The species has several subspecies, which live in various natural environments like eucalyptus woodlands. However, it has become endangered due to the destruction of natural habitats. The subspecies generally are similar except for differences in beak size, sounds they produce, and body size. They migrate slightly depending on the seasons.

The Red-Tailed Black cockatoos are rarely used as pets especially outside the country. Although they are expensive, they can still be tamed and bred while in cages.

6. Glossy Black Cockatoo

Glossy Black Cockatoo
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The Glossy Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami) species is commonly found in eastern Australia. It is smaller compared to the Red-Tailed Black cockatoo. The male cockatoo is black with a brown head and red spots at the tail. Female cockatoos are dark brown with yellow specks and stripes at the neck and tail. Their bill is bone-colored.

The Glossy Black Cockatoo has three subspecies. The difference between the subspecies is merely noticeable, and they live in different parts of the country. They can also be interbred. They are commonly found in woodlands and open forests.

This species is not popular as pets. They are easily obtained in Australia but expensive outside the country.

7. Galah

Galah Cockatoo Close up
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The Galah (Eolophus roseicapillus) has beautiful colors. The chest is bright pink, with light grey wings, and a whitish-pink crest. The feet and bill are bone-colored. This species of cockatoo is very common in Australia. They are often seen in big groups. These birds eat crops and drink water like domestic animals. They are mostly found in open fields and sleep in trees found in the fields.

If you give a Galah proper care and housing, they are easily kept as a pet. Their body size is 30 cm making it easier to be caged. They are noisy but can be tamed unlike other species of cockatoo. They are very playful, thus making an amazing companion as a pet.

8. Cockatiels Cockatoos

Cockatiel Close Up
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The Cockatiels Cockatoos (Nymphicus hollandicus) are popular as pets. They appear in different colors. This species is naturally found in grassland, bushlands, scrublands, and small forests of Australia. They live in groups of 5-20 birds.

9. Palm Cockatoo

black palm cockatoo
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The Palm cockatoo (probosciger aterrimus) has black feathers, a bright red bill, and a spot of bare skin around the eyes. They naturally inhabit Northern Australia and live in tropical forests in small groups. This cockatoo species produces an egg once in two years. It is better to keep them at the zoo or parks as it can be difficult to tame them at home.divider-birds

Final Thoughts

Australia is home to most cockatoo species. Some can be kept at home, as pets while others cannot. The larger ones are best kept in zoos where they can enjoy free space. If you want to acquire one for a pet, you could easily go for the smaller-sized species, which can fit in a cage comfortably.

See also: How to Tell the Age of a Cockatoo

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